By Zachary Stieber
Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Sept. 23 proposed restrictions on access to documents seized from Mar-a-Lago in August, and penalties for people who break the restrictions if they are put in place.
The lawyers proposed to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the Trump appointee overseeing disputes over the documents, that access to the documents should be restricted to U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master; Dearie’s law clerks; Trump lawyers; staff supporting Trump’s lawyers, including paralegals; and whichever vendor or vendors are chosen to process the paper documents to electronic form.
Trump’s lawyers and other parties can use the documents in litigation but only after allowing the special master or Cannon to first view them in private, according to the proposed order.
Passwords and isolated folders should be used to store the electronic copies, Trump’s counsel recommends.
If any person learns they have disclosed seized materials then they must immediately notify the government, make an effort to retrieve the unauthorized copies, inform the recipient(s), and have the recipient(s) sign an acknowledgement of the order that is proposed for Cannon to sign, if she signs it.
“Violations of this Judicial Protective Order shall be punishable by contempt of court or any other legally available sanction that the Court deems appropriate. All parties to whom Seized Materials are disclosed in accordance with this Judicial Protective Order consent and submit to this Court’s jurisdiction for purposes of enforcing this order,” the would-be order says.
The filing is the first entered by Trump’s lawyers or the government since Cannon restricted access to materials with classified markings that were seized from Mar-a-Lago in August.
Cannon’s order followed an appeals court ruling that backed the government, which had argued that neither Dearie nor Trump attorneys should be able to view the materials.
Trump has said he declassified all the materials in question but the appeals court said nothing in the record before they supported the claim.
Government officials have said that even if the materials aren’t still classified, Trump has no interest in them.
The case management plan, which may be objected to by either party, would work to settle any disputes over an inventory list the government has released; privilege concerns; and Trump’s motion for the return of the seized property.
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