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Defeat for Trump in the legal dispute over secret documents

Former US President Donald Trump suffered another defeat in the legal dispute over the evaluation of secret government documents confiscated from him.

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Defeat for Trump in the legal dispute over secret documents

Former US President Donald Trump suffered another defeat in the legal dispute over the evaluation of secret government documents confiscated from him. An appeals court ruled on Thursday evening that it was unlawful to appoint a special representative to review documents seized during a search of the ex-president's private home, at Trump's request.

Trump had won the appeal of the neutral examiner in court - and ensured that the authorities were no longer allowed to use parts of the confiscated documents until his work was completed. This has now been stopped for the time being. For the Justice Department, which is investigating Trump, this is a success.

The federal police FBI searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago mansion in the state of Florida in August and confiscated numerous classified documents, some with the highest classification level. According to the law, this material should have been given to the National Archives. Among the thousands of documents, according to the FBI, were around 100 documents marked as secret. Since Trump kept the documents in his private home after leaving office, he could have committed a criminal offense. It is still unclear whether he could ultimately be prosecuted.

Trump criticizes the authorities' actions against him as politically motivated and sees it as an attempt to prevent him from moving back into the White House. The Republican has since officially announced that he wants to run again as a candidate for his party in the 2024 presidential election. Whether the Republicans will ultimately make him their candidate remains to be seen.

The ex-president had defended himself against the investigations in court: Trump's team was able to achieve success in the meantime with the appointment of the neutral examiner for the documents. Its task: to filter out documents that fall under the attorney-client privilege. However, Trump has suffered setbacks in the legal dispute on several occasions.

The Ministry of Justice was able to get the around 100 documents marked as secret exempted from the examination and thus continue to be used for the investigations against Trump. Trump still tried to have this stopped by the Supreme Court, but suffered a defeat there too. The fact that the appointment of the special auditor was now generally classified as unlawful is another setback for him.

The appeals court wrote in the order released Thursday night that the court that ruled on the special counsel's appointment had no authority to prohibit the state from using lawfully seized documents in criminal investigations. "The law is clear," the decision said. There can be no rule allowing a search warrant officer to block a government investigation after the search warrant has been executed. "Nor can we make a rule that only allows past presidents to do this."

In view of Trump's new presidential ambitions, the US Department of Justice has now placed the politically sensitive investigations into the secret government documents in the hands of an external special investigator.

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