Trump lawyers ordered to say whether they believe FBI planted evidence

The Brooklyn federal judge in charge of reviewing the 11,000 documents which the FBI seized from former president Donald Trump’s home during an 8 August search has ordered the ex-president’s legal team to say whether they believe agents planted evidence to incriminate the former president.

Since announcing that his home and office at Mar-a-Lago — the Palm Beach, Florida mansion turned private club where he maintains his primary residence — was searched by FBI agents, Mr Trump has repeatedly suggested that federal investigators would go so far as to fabricate evidence to make it appear as if he has committed crimes.

Mr Trump’s lawyers have also suggested that the more than 100 documents marked as classified and retrieved from his home and office by agents were not actually classified. But a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected such claims in an opinion released on Wednesday which stayed a Florida judge’s order which prohibited the Department of Justice from using the classified documents to further its’ criminal probe into Mr Trump.

The New York-based jurist who has been engaged as a “special master” pursuant to the Florida judge’s order, District Judge Raymond Dearie, has taken a similarly dim view of the ex-president’s lawyer’s claims.

In an order released on Thursday, Judge Dearie gave Mr Trump’s legal team until 30 September to say whether any of the items on the 11-page inventory provided by the department are described incorrectly.

In particular, he asked for a “list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022” and a separate list of “specific items ... as to which Plaintiff asserts that the Detailed Property Inventory’s description of contents or location within the Premises where the item was found is incorrect”.

The Trump team must submit a sworn declaration attesting to either list, which would mean his lawyers would be saying the FBI planted evidence under oath if they submit the lists.

“This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” he added.