An independent expert must be appointed to review documents seized by the FBI in early August from Donald Trump's Florida home, a U.S. judge ordered on Monday according to a court document made public.< /strong>
Judge Aileen Cannon acceded to the request of the former American president by this decision which temporarily prohibits the investigators from using within the framework of the criminal investigation the documents seized in the residence Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago.
Investigators can, however, continue to review the documents “for classification and national security assessment purposes”, according to the decision of the federal magistrate.
This represents a victory for the Republican and a serious setback for the Justice Department which had opposed the appointment of an independent third party, saying it could block investigators' access to documents “and would severely harm government interests, including in matters of national security”.
Appointed by Donald Trump himself in 2020, Judge Cannon writes in her decision that the appointment of the independent supervisor will be made “without delay”, asking the parties to come up with a list of potential names for a hearing scheduled for Friday.
On August 8, the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's residence in Florida, seizing boxes of confidential documents that the Republican had not returned after leaving the White House, despite numerous multiple requests.
Since this spectacular and unprecedented police operation for a former American head of state, Donald Trump has stormed against an act that he considers “illegal and unconstitutional” and repeats that he was targeted for political reasons.
< strong>“Top Secret” documents
In January, the ex-president's teams handed over 15 boxes of documents he had taken when he left the White House to the agency National Archives, responsible for recording presidential activities for history.
It was after examining these boxes that the FBI, convinced that Donald Trump kept other classified documents in Florida, under potentially inappropriate conditions, decided to search, seizing on this occasion about thirty other boxes of documents.< /p>
“They took documents protected” by confidentiality between client and lawyer, Donald Trump had said.
Investigators suspect the Republican of having violated an American law on espionage which very strictly regulates the possession of confidential documents. Donald Trump assured that these documents had been declassified.
Among the texts seized during the police operation are 18 documents classified as “top secret”, 53 “secret” and 31 “confidential”.
Among them are papers that were recovered from Mr. Trump's personal office.
Officers also found several dozen empty folders marked “classified” in the office, which may imply that sensitive documents may have been lost or destroyed.