Trump requests Supreme Court intervene in Mar-a-Lago case
Washington, Oct 05: Former US President Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in his legal battle over classified documents that were seized at his Mar-a-Lago mansion on August 8.
On Tuesday, Trump's lawyers filed a request with the Supreme Court to overturn a previous ruling from the Court of Appeals that prevented an independent arbiter requested by Trump, known as a special master, from vetting more than 100 classified documents that were among 11,000 records seized by FBI agents.
In the filing on Tuesday, Trump's legal team said the special master should have access to "determine whether documents bearing classification markings are in fact classified, and regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records or presidential records."
Lawyers point to Trump's 'absolute authority'
On September 15, New York Judge Raymond Dearie was appointed as a special master, tasked with screening the documents and weeding out anything that may be covered by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. The Justice Department was prevented from reviewing the documents until this process was completed.
However, the Justice Department successfully appealed this decision and some of Dearie's powers were wound back by the Court of Appeals a week later.
"Since [former] President Trump had absolute authority over classification decisions during his presidency, the current status of any disputed document cannot possibly be determined solely by reference to the markings on that document," Trump's lawyers said in the filing on Tuesday.
They said that without the oversight of Dearie as a special master, "the unchallenged views of the current Justice Department would supersede the established authority of the chief executive."
Application submitted to Clarence Thomas
The petition was submitted to conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees emergency matters from Florida and several other southern states.
He can act on his own or refer the emergency appeal to the rest of the court, as is convention.
Thomas has previously been criticized for being the only dissenting vote in another Trump documents case pertaining to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. His wife, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, is also a conservative activist and noted Trump supporter.