“The law is clear” and the court has been forceful. Judges have overturned a Florida judge’s decision to appoint an independent expert and blocked the Justice Department’s investigation into documents, many of them secret, seized from the search at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion. Palm Beach, Fla.). The decision to annul the review of the documents by the expert is a new judicial setback for Donald Trump. In principle, the sentence paves the way for the investigation, although the former president still has the possibility of going to the Supreme Court.
One of Trump’s usual tactics is to try to delay and hamper the investigation with continued judicial appeals. Thanks to one of those resources, a federal judge from Florida, Aileen M. Cannon, appointed by Trump himself shortly before his dismissal, ordered the Department of Justice and the FBI to stop their investigation work with all the documents found in the registry. while a special expert reviewed them. The objective was to see if they could affect the attorney-client privilege (which protects professional secrecy in the relations of a person being investigated with their lawyers) or the executive privilege (which allows the executive power to deny information about actions in progress to another power, such as the legislative or judicial), even though Trump no longer holds public office.
The same Atlanta appeals court that handed down its sentence on Thursday already provisionally suspended last September the blocking of the investigation regarding documents classified as confidential or secret that the FBI seized at the beginning of August in the registry of Mar-a-Lago. Now, he has ruled on the merits of the matter, with a sentence that leaves Judge Cannon in a very bad place: “The law is clear. We cannot make a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the warrant is executed. Nor can we issue a rule that only allows former presidents to do so, ”she said at the end of her 21-page resolution.
In addition, the court has indicated that the judge did not have the competence to issue her resolution, which she justified by the extraordinary fact that a search is carried out in the house of a former president. The judges dedicate a corrective to him for this: “It is certainly extraordinary that a judicial order is executed in the residence of a former president, but not in a way that affects our legal analysis or that otherwise gives license to the judiciary to interfere in an ongoing investigation”, point out the three judges, two of whom were also appointed by Trump himself. “Creating a special exception here would challenge our nation’s founding principle that our law applies ‘to all, regardless of number, wealth, or rank,” they add.
The former president has already appealed to the Supreme Court for the precautionary measure that unblocked the investigation in relation to the secret documents. The Supreme Court has nine members and a conservative majority of six to three. In addition, three of the justices were appointed by Trump himself during his presidency. In a brief unmotivated ruling published in October, the Supreme Court limited itself to saying that Trump’s appeal had been inadmissible. Probably, he considered that, in the case of a precautionary measure, it was not the time to act.
Now, however, what is foreseeable is that Trump will appeal the new decision again, in one of the most politically charged cases affecting the former president and candidate for the 2024 presidential elections. Despite its composition, on previous occasions the Supreme Court has also made decisions against the interests of Trump, although none in a case of such importance.
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The former president is being investigated for possible crimes of obstruction of justice, intentional concealment, removal or mutilation of public documents and violations of the espionage law, apparently for the intentional retention of national security documents, according to the content of the search warrant. . These are crimes that can carry fines or jail sentences.
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