Former President Trump’s fight against the Justice Department’s probe into misuse of government records in Mar-a-Lago has now reached the highest court, but legal experts say he may not fare as well as his case is brought before new judges .
Trump scored a first victory before a Florida federal district court judge, who granted his request to appoint a special master to review the more than 10,000 government documents seized at his home to see if any might be protected by executive or attorney privileges are.
But as the case makes its way through the court system, other judges appear more reluctant to grant Trump’s requests.
The 11th Circuit Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Department of Justice (DOJ) a first victory in the case, withdrawing the more than 100 classified records from the main special review and later agreeing to an expedited schedule to allow the DOJ’s appeal of the judge’s decision Aileen Cannon approve the special master process.
But Trump’s emergency appeal to the Supreme Court was not treated as an urgent matter — Judge Clarence Thomas gave the DOJ a week to respond.
“Everything indicates that the appeals process continues to move in the direction of the government,” Brad Moss, an expert on national security law, told The Hill.
“The 11th Circuit is expediting the appeal of the special master’s appointment, and the Supreme Court, conversely, is taking a long time to consider Mr. Trump’s appeal of the overturning of Judge Cannon’s injunction. Last but not least, the appellate judges are making it clear how seriously they take the government’s national security concerns and how little they believe Mr Trump’s legal theories.”
Trump’s appeal to the Supreme Court to intervene in the case was the latest move by a legal team that has taken an aggressive stance in its battle with the Justice Department.
But the shelf itself was actually pretty tight.
Trump’s motion requires that the classified records in question be returned to the pool of documents included in the special master’s review and elects not to ask the court to bar those documents from use by the Justice Department while they are continue their investigation – had included something from Cannon in their original order.
“This is a very specific and narrow request from Trump, the merits of which relate to a technical jurisdictional issue, but which encounters fatal procedural obstacles long beforehand. It’s not ridiculous, but only because it’s small,” said Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law specializing in federal courts and national security law. wrote on Twitter.
“That’s what good lawyers who are stuck do to appease bad clients… It’s a way to file *something* in the Supreme Court without having to go astray and/or act unethically all the way,” added Added Vladeck.
Trump’s attorneys argued that the federal appeals court erred in allowing the Justice Department to appeal a procedural step.
They argued that the appeal “significantly disrupts the ongoing, time-sensitive work of the special master” and that the 11th District’s intervention “effectively compromises it.”[es] the integrity of established policy against piecemeal appeal review.”
Trump’s team also recycled legal arguments from previous briefs that suggested he could have released the records at his home but didn’t. It’s a statement that provoked skepticism from the special master, who first asked the legal team to support the claim before Cannon stepped in and said Trump didn’t have to comply with the request.
Even if Trump were to convince the court, the DOJ could still use the documents for its investigation, even after the special foreman reviewed them.
Moss also surmised that the filing is likely to do little for Trump.
“The Trump legal team’s appeal to the Supreme Court was made for one reason: Mr. Trump was undoubtedly demanding that something be filed. The narrowness of the appeal reflects his attorneys’ efforts to invent something – anything – that they could justify as not frivolous. Even if it succeeds, it would probably come too late in the special masters process to matter anyway,” he said.
Brian Greer, a former CIA attorney, sees a potential upside for Trump — but only if the Justice Department decides to prosecute him.
“Even if Trump is granted the relief he wants, it’s not clear how helpful it will be to them, aside from giving them early access to these classified records,” he told The Hill.
“For me, the only real endgame in the Supreme Court litigation, aside from the delay, is getting access to those records before an indictment so they can start building their defense.”
The 11th Circuit Court’s agreement to expedite review of the Justice Department’s case could also prove helpful to the government.
In its first decision, a three-judge panel of the court suggested Cannon erred in appointing the special master, a sign that Trump, as a former executive, has little claim to any of the documents.
But in practical terms, it also helps in their investigation.
“The Justice Department is correct in claiming that the current inability to use the unclassified documents before the special master could hamper its ongoing investigation into the classified records,” Greer said.
“That’s because, as the Justice Department claimed, they may want to investigate how these unclassified documents were mixed up with the classified records, whether there are fingerprints on these documents, and interview witnesses about these documents, all of which are relevant to the investigation.” the secret records could be relevant,” he continued.
But the Justice Department’s victories are still delaying the final determination of the files.
The trial in the 11th Circuit Court and the Supreme Court could take months, and an appeals court ruling is unlikely to come until December at the earliest.
“The timing is still not good for the DOJ as they likely want to complete any investigation pertaining to the relevance of the unclassified records before indictments are filed against the classified records,” Greer said.
https://www.woodtv.com/news/as-mar-a-lago-case-advances-trumps-initial-success-could-fade/ As the Mar-a-Lago case moves forward, Trump's initial success may fade