Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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New judicial setback to Trump for the Mar-a-Lago papers

Former President Donald Trump, two days after the police search at his Mar-a-Lago residence. / Reuters

The Court of Appeals gives the green light to the investigation of the twenty boxes and documents seized at the residence of the former US president

“The law is clear. We cannot write a special rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the search is executed.” This is how blunt the three judges of the Atlanta Court of Appeals have been, who have derailed Donald Trump’s attempts to stop the Executive’s investigation into the twenty boxes of objects and documents seized at his residence in Mar-a-Lago.

The tactic of muddying investigations with resources and lawsuits has long roots in the history of the real estate magnate, who became famous for building casinos and luxury skyscrapers with his last name. This time he has not worked. The Federal judge for the southern district of Florida, Aileen Cannon, daughter of Cuban political refugees, appointed to the position by Donald Trump himself, had accepted his proposals to appoint a representative to oversee the investigation of the documents classified as secret, which which significantly slowed down the work of the FBI.

In addition, Trump wanted a precautionary order to return the objects that he illegally took as ‘souvenirs’ until the investigation is concluded. The court has concluded that “Celine Dione’s golf shirts and photos” may have great sentimental value to the former president “but we do not see the need for them to be returned to him immediately, after they have been seized with a search warrant.” presumably legal,” he ruled.

21 pages

There are 21 pages of legal opinion that go beyond triviality, because they establish jurisprudence on a controversy that goes back to the times of Richard Nixon. “If the president does it, it’s legal,” Nixon said then. And no, the president is not above the law, even though he has great prerogatives. Trump is no longer president. It was when he decided to take everything he thought from the White House. Investigators have preliminarily concluded that he had no intention of using them against State security, but he did have the obligation to comply with the laws that regulate his belonging to the National Archives and the handling of documents classified as secret.

The former president can request that this decision be reviewed by the full Court of Appeals or appeal to the Supreme Court, but in both cases it is unlikely to be successful. The decision gives special counsel Jack Smith, appointed by the Justice Department to conduct all investigations involving the former president impartially, the green light to continue the investigation.

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