Trump defense, prosecution argue over admissibility of evidence seized in Mar-a-Lago raid

 June 26, 2024

Former President Donald Trump and his attorneys have claimed that the August 2022 FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago residence was unlawful and, as such, all evidence seized during that raid should be suppressed and thrown out.

Presiding Judge Aileen Cannon held a hearing on those claims on Tuesday, but she didn't appear to completely accept what the defense attorneys told her, according to Fox News.

However, she also didn't completely reject or immediately rule against the defense team's arguments, and once again clashed with prosecutors over their arrogant attitude and wild accusations against Trump's attorneys.

Judge skeptical, but doesn't issue ruling

Former President Trump's attorneys previously argued in a motion and reasserted during Tuesday's hearing that the search warrant the FBI obtained for the Mar-a-Lago raid was impermissibly large and lacked proper probable cause to search the entire sprawling property for allegedly classified documents retained after Trump left the White House.

Defense attorney Emil Bove further argued that the magistrate judge who signed off on the warrant had been misinformed about what the search of Mar-a-Lago would entail and reiterated prior allegations that some FBI agents internally objected to carrying out the armed raid and had suggested instead that Trump's "consent" to a search should have been obtained through negotiations.

Given all of that and more, Trump's attorneys requested what is known as a "Frank's hearing" to separately look into the admissibility of evidence seized during a search if the magistrate judge who authorized that search was misled -- a request that Judge Cannon didn't reject outright and suggested she would consider.

Unfortunately for the former president, Politico reported that Judge Cannon otherwise appeared "highly skeptical" of the claim that all of the evidence from the Mar-a-Lago raid should be tossed out, as she believed that the challenged warrant was "particular enough" in laying out what was to be searched and why.

Notably, though, despite that expressed skepticism, the judge did not immediately reject the motion to suppress the evidence and gave no clear indications on how she might ultimately rule.

Prosecution defends actions of FBI

Fox News reported that Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was present at the hearing but said nothing, was represented by assistant prosecutor David Harbach, who furiously attacked the Trump team's efforts to suppress evidence and argued that they had failed to make a "substantial showing" that investigators deliberately misled the magistrate judge to earn approval for the search warrant.

Harbach also flatly dismissed the idea that Trump's "consent" to a voluntarily arranged search was a possibility and rejected as a "conspiracy theory" the notion that some FBI agents had objected to the manner in which the search was carried out.

He further asserted that the FBI was fully authorized and justified to search the entire Mar-a-Lago property for classified documents, denied that agents went "rummaging" through the bedrooms of former first lady Melania Trump and former first son Barron Trump, and insisted that certain non-evidentiary items that were seized, such as Trump's medical and tax records and passport, had been swiftly returned.

Prosecutor scolded by judge

At one point toward the end of the hours-long hearing, Harbach accused Trump's attorney Bove of attempting to "hijack" the hearing by bringing up unrelated issues, but according to Newsweek, Judge Cannon wasn't having it.

She scolded, "There's no hijacking," and then moved to end the hearing as Harbach continued to complain about the defense team's tactics.

The classified documents case has been indefinitely delayed while Cannon deals with numerous and varied motions from both sides, and she has yet to set a new trial date.

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