Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, demanding that the Department of Justice return documents he claims were “illegally” seized during an F.B.I. search of his Mar-a-Lago property, an incident Trump has referred to as an unconstitutional “break-in.”
“We have just filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida strongly asserting my rights, including under the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution, regarding the unnecessary, unwarranted, and unAmerican Break-In [sic] by dozens of FBI agents, and others, of my home, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida,” Trump said.
In his statement, Trump reiterated claims that the F.B.I. had prevented his legal team from observing the search.
Trump also maintains that the F.B.I. agents broke into his personal safe using a “safe cracker,” taking documents that the former president says are “protected by attorney-client and executive privilege.”
“We are now demanding that the Department of ‘Justice’ be instructed to immediately STOP the review of documents illegally seized from my home,” Trump said.
Trump further alleged that the judge who signed off on the search warrant was motivated by political animus.
“The wrongful, overboard warrant was signed by a Magistrate Judge who recused himself just two months ago, from a MAJOR civil suit that I filed, because of his bias and animus toward me,” Trump said on Monday.
The Hill notes that unsealed Department of Justice documents indicate that the federal government is investigating the former president’s potential violations of the Espionage Act and other laws.
Trump, adds The Hill, is suspected of misappropriating and mishandling documents he removed from the White House while exiting office in 2020.
In his Monday statement, Trump said that his team is “taking all necessary actions to get the documents back,” so that they can be returned to the National Archives “until they are required for the future Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Museum.”
Business Insider observes that Trump’s lawsuit has been widely panned by legal experts, who suggest that the former president is desperately struggling to preserve his image.
“They appear to be either completely incompetent, or out of their depth,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told Insider. “That’s part of the reason why the former president has trouble finding lawyers—because he demands that they file documents and take positions that have no legal support whatsoever.”
Similarly, University of Michigan Law Professor Barb McQuade characterized the lawsuit was “just a long ranting tweet dressed up as a legal filing.”
“Everyone’s entitled to counsel, but lawyers who sign their names to a brief must first remove frivolous arguments and unsupported claims,” McQuade wrote on Twitter. “This one has loads.”