Judge asks Trump lawyers to back up claims on seized documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge reviewing records seized from Donald Trump's Florida home on Thursday asked the former president's attorneys to produce evidence raising doubts about the integrity of the documents Trump used made unsubstantiated claims planted by FBI agents.
Senior federal judge Raymond Dearie, who was appointed by another judge to review the documents to assess whether some should be withheld from investigators as privileged, also asked the Justice Department to certify by Monday a detailed ownership inventory of the materials, which the FBI seized in the court-authorized August 2019 8th search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach residence.
Dearie asked Trump's attorneys to file by September 30 a list of specific items in that inventory "that the plaintiff alleges were not seized from the premises." Dearie also asked them to submit any corrections to the government's list by that date, including items they believe were confiscated at Mar-a-Lago but not listed on the inventory.
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"This filing is intended to be plaintiff's (Trump's) final opportunity to raise factual disputes as to the completeness and accuracy of the detailed inventory of ownership," wrote Dearie, who serves as an independent arbitrator and is known as the Special Master.
The search was conducted as part of a federal criminal investigation into whether Trump illegally withheld documents from the White House when he left office in January 2021 following his failed re-election in 2020 and whether Trump had attempted to stop the investigation to hinder.
Trump has described the investigation as politically motivated. He has also claimed, without providing evidence, that he declassified all documents found at Mar-a-Lago and that the FBI planted documents.
At Trump's request, US District Judge Aileen Cannon hired Dearie to review the materials. More than 11,000 documents were seized, including about 100 documents marked as classified, according to the Justice Department.
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A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the Justice Department can resume reviewing these classified records as part of its criminal investigation. The Atlanta-based 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals also barred Dearie from reviewing the documents marked confidential.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Wil Dunham)
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