GOP attorney general files amicus brief on Trump Mar-a-Lago documents

Ken Paxton of Texas and 10 other GOP state attorneys general came to the defense of former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, filing an amicus brief in a federal appeals court arguing that the Biden administration cannot stay in a legal battle over documents seized by the FBI last month. Trustworthy.

In the 21-page document, which repeated many right-wing talking points but experts said broke little new law, officials accused the Biden administration of “looting” the former president’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago. The August 8 court-sanctioned FBI raid and politicization of the judiciary.

The search, which stemmed from an investigation into whether Trump and his associates improperly obtained classified government documents, uncovered several key documents. Then Trump’s lawyers A Special master to explore About 11,000 documents seized and potentially covered by attorney-client or administrative privilege were excluded. U.S. District Judge Eileen M. Cannon accepted the request and barred criminal investigators from using the material until a review was completed. The Justice Department contested parts of Cannon’s decision he asked The Atlanta-based US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit overruled her.

The amicus brief urges the Court of Appeals to dismiss the appeal. “Given Biden’s track record, with his rhetoric of demonizing anyone he disagrees with, the courts should be more cautious in what ways. [the Justice Department] President Donald Trump may abuse its power to punish him,” Paxton said in a statement Tuesday, leading his office.

Special Master Encourages Trump Lawyers: ‘You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It’

The Utah Attorney General’s Office confirmed the state has joined the amicus brief, but declined to comment further. Representatives for the other attorney general did not respond to requests for comment.

Justice Department officials could not immediately be reached late Tuesday.

Amicus briefs Documents filed by parties not directly involved in a legal dispute to provide additional, relevant information to judges. But legal experts said the document filed by the Attorney General is more of a political document than a legal brief.

Attorneys general from Texas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia did not elaborate on the key legal issues Trump is contesting — executive privilege and documents found at his Florida estate. were actually classified — according to John Yu, a legal expert on executive privilege who reviewed the brief at the request of The Washington Post.

The term “executive privilege” is mentioned only once in the filing, and the text does not provide new information that would help determine whether government documents found at Trump’s property are classified. The privilege is typically used to protect executive branch communications from Congress or the courts, not from an agency within the branch, such as the Justice Department.

Instead, GOP officials have listed a range of grievances against the Biden administration, including how it handled immigration law enforcement and its response to the coronavirus pandemic, that do not appear to be directly related to the case. They argue that the administration’s “questionable conduct” in policymaking and litigation means that courts should treat judicial appeals with caution.

The officials who signed the brief were “really good lawyers,” George W. said Yu, who served in the Bush administration’s Justice Department. But the brief is a political document that “doesn’t address any of the issues at stake,” he said.

Analysis: The GOP attorney general’s Mar-a-Lago brief is less than meets the eye

Paxton has previously used his office to intervene in the courts for Trump and other right-wing causes. In 2020, Texas attempted to sue Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania over the 2020 presidential election in a long-running effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. Supreme Court The case was dismissed.

Brief “Definitely a political stunt,” John D. Michaels, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, studies presidential powers. “Officials play to strict MAGA platforms in their states,” he said.

Paxton’s office could not immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Perry Stein and Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.

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