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Friday the DOJ submitted its appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Friday September 16, 2022 the DOJ submitted its appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT DONALD J. TRUMP, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant-Appellant. On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida MOTION FOR PARTIAL STAY PENDING APPEAL. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY – “The district court has entered an unprecedented order enjoining the Executive Branch’s use of its own highly classified records in a criminal investigation with direct implications for national security. In August 2022, the government obtained a warrant to search the residence of Plaintiff, former President Donald J. Trump, based on a judicial finding of probable cause to believe that the search would reveal evidence of crimes including unlawful retention of national  defense information. Along with other evidence, the search recovered roughly 100 records bearing classification markings, including markings reflecting the highest levels of classification and extremely restricted distribution. Two weeks later, Plaintiff filed an action seeking the appointment of a special master to review the seized materials and an injunction barring the government from continuing to use them in the meantime. The court granted that extraordinary relief, enjoining further review or use of any seized materials “for criminal investigative purposes” pending a special-master process that will last months. Although the government believes the district court fundamentally erred in appointing a special master and granting injunctive relief, the government seeks to stay only the portions of the order causing the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public by (1) restricting the government’s review and use of records bearing classification markings and (2) requiring the government to disclose those records for a special-master review process. This Court should grant that modest but critically important relief for three reasons. First, the government is likely to succeed on the merits. The district court appointed a special master to consider claims for return of property under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g) and assertions of attorney-client or executive privilege. All of those rationales are categorically inapplicable to the records bearing classification markings. Plaintiff has no claim for the return of those records, which belong to the government and were seized in a court-authorized search. The records are not subject to any possible claim of personal attorney-client privilege. And neither Plaintiff nor the court has cited any authority suggesting that a former President could successfully invoke executive privilege to prevent the Executive Branch from reviewing its own records. Any possible assertion of executive privilege over these records would be especially untenable and would be overcome by the government’s “demonstrated,  specific need” for them, United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 713 (1974), because they are central to its ongoing investigation. Second, the government and the public would suffer irreparable harm absent a stay. The district court recognized the government’s overriding interest in assessing and responding to the national-security risk from the possible unauthorized disclosure of the records bearing classification markings. The court thus stated that its order was not intended to “impede” an ongoing “classification review and/or intelligence assessment” of those records by the Intelligence Community (IC). A14-A15. But as the head of the Counterintelligence Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) explained in a sworn declaration, the criminal investigation is itself essential to the government’s effort to identify and mitigate potential national-security risks. The court’s order hamstrings that investigation and places the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) under a Damoclean threat of contempt should the court later disagree with how investigators disaggregated their previously integrated criminal-investigative and national-security activities. It also irreparably harms the government by enjoining critical steps of an ongoing criminal investigation and needlessly compelling disclosure of highly sensitive records, including to Plaintiff’s counsel. Third, the limited stay sought here would impose no cognizable harm on Plaintiff. It would not disturb the special master’s review of other materials, including records potentially subject to attorney-client privilege. Nor would a stay infringe any interest in confidentiality: The government’s criminal investigators have already reviewed the records bearing classification markings, and the district court’s order contemplates that the IC may continue to review and use them for certain national security purposes. Finally, because the government and the public will suffer irreparable injury absent a stay, the United States respectfully asks that the Court act on this motion as soon as practicable.”

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