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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Judge declines request to hold Trump team in contempt

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A federal judge on Friday refused a request to hold former President Trump’s legal team in contempt for failing to comply with a May subpoena to turn over any remaining classified documents held by the former president, ABC News reported. 

U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell reportedly urged the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers to reach a resolution themselves, according to ABC. The court proceedings currently remain under seal.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the Justice Department had asked Howell to find Trump’s legal team in contempt, following months of efforts to recover classified documents from the former president.

The Trump team has repeatedly failed to appoint a custodian of records to confirm that all classified materials have been returned to the government, according to the Post.

After the National Archives and Records Administration found classified documents among several boxes of records recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in January, the Justice Department opened an investigation into the issue.

The department eventually subpoenaed the former president in May, in response to which Trump’s lawyers turned over 38 documents with classified markings. 

While Trump lawyer Christina Bobb said in a statement at the time that all records had been returned “based upon the information that has been provided to me,” the Trump legal team declined to make a sworn statement certifying that all classified documents had been returned.

The FBI recovered more than 100 additional classified documents in August when it searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. 

An outside group hired by Trump’s legal team found two more classified documents at a storage unit in West Palm Beach, Fla., according to various reports on Wednesday. The group reportedly combed through four properties associated with Trump in search of classified materials.

Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement that the former president and his counsel will “continue to be transparent and cooperative” in what he characterized as the Justice Department’s “highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt.”

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



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