An aerial view of former US President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago after Trump said FBI agents raided it on August 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.
Marco Bello | Reuters
A federal judge on Monday dismissed former President Donald Trump’s lawsuit against government access to materials seized at his resort town of Mar-a-Lago, marking the formal end of Trump’s months-long legal battle following the FBI’s raid on his A house.
The judge’s order came four days after Trump declined to appeal a higher court decision overturning the appointment of a special master to examine the thousands of items federal agents found during a raid on Trump’s Florida residence on March 8 August had stolen.
Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, signed a unilateral order dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction. The order, filed in US District Court in West Palm Beach, also ended all hearings, time limits and motions pending in the case. This includes Trump’s efforts to obtain an undredacted version of the search warrant affidavit authorizing the raid.
A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Cannon had appointed retired Judge Raymond Dearie as special master in September while blocking the Justice Department from reviewing the seized materials as part of a criminal investigation.
More than 100 documents with secret markings were found in the Mar-a-Lago raid. A team hired by Trump found additional records marked as classified outside the resort, several outlets recently reported. Last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee an ongoing criminal investigation into Trump’s removal of hundreds of documents from the White House.
A three-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled Dec. 1 that Cannon should not have appointed the Special Master, writing that she “improperly exercised” an extension of her jurisdiction.
“The suspension of the entire process is required,” said the statement from the panel, which included two judges appointed by Trump.
“The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows a search warrant subject to block a government investigation after the warrant has been executed. Nor can we write a rule that only allows former presidents to do so,” the judges wrote.
The panel gave the former president a week to seek a stay of his sentence by appealing to the county as a whole or to the US Supreme Court. Trump’s lawyers did not appeal.
They had already faced a Supreme Court denial in the case: The Supreme Court in October denied Trump’s request to overturn an earlier 11th Federal Court ruling that had prevented the special master from examining the classified documents.
Last week’s appeals court ruling could pave the way for federal investigators to more quickly examine the thousands of items to which they previously blocked access.