Update: Judge Rejects DOJ Request To Hold Trump Team In Contempt

December 9, 2022

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell on Friday declined to hold former President Trump or his legal team in contempt of court, rejecting a DOJ request.

Prosecutors at the Department of Justice had made the request on Thursday, asserting the Trump team had failed to comply with a May subpoena to turn over all classified documents in his possession.

At a hearing Friday, Judge Howell urged the DOJ and Trump’s lawyers to resolve the dispute between themselves. 

One of the key disagreements between the two parties centers on the Trump team’s repeated refusal to designate a custodian of records to sign a document attesting that all classified materials have been returned to the federal government.

Trump’s team has countered that a request for any lawyer to sign such a blanket statement in good faith, or to advise a client to do so, is unreasonable.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that Trump attorneys had hired outside search teams to comb over Trump properties for classified documents, and they found at least two documents with classified markings in a storage unit used by the former President in West Palm Beach, which attorneys immediately handed over to the FBI.

Among his duties special counsel Jack Smith is investigating whether thousands of documents taken by Trump when he left the White House, which were retrieved by the FBI as part of an August 8 search warrant on his Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, warrant criminal charges against the former President. 

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