FBI Reportedly Staged Trump Classified Documents Photo

(RepublicanPress.org) – On May 7, the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case issued an order scheduling the second set of pre-trial hearings and deadlines in that trial. US District Judge Aileen Cannon also vacated her previously entered May 24 trial date and didn’t set a new one — effectively delaying the case indefinitely.

As one might expect, left-leaning and mainstream media organizations expressed outrage at Cannon’s open-ended delay.

However, the controversy surrounding Cannon’s ruling quickly became dwarfed by allegations regarding another court filing posted this week — this time by federal prosecutors assigned to the Mar-a-Lago case.

FBI Accused of Staging Classified Documents Photograph

On May 8, the conservative website Hot Air published an article accusing the FBI of staging a photograph of classified documents seized during an August 2022 execution of a search warrant at Trump’s Florida residence. The photo shows several classified documents strewn across a carpeted floor at Mar-a-Lago, some bearing burnt orange, red, and yellow-bordered cover sheets denoting their classification levels.

The article explained that the lead DOJ prosecutor overseeing the investigation during the FBI search spoke with Trump’s lawyers about it during his deposition in a related lawsuit. Jay Bratt said some of the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago included “colored cover sheets indicating their classification status.”

On May 3, federal prosecutors filed a pleading responding to Trump co-defendant Waltine’s motion for an extension to a deadline to submit certain “expert disclosures” to the court and opposing counsel.

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team wrote that a filter team reviewed boxes of evidence retrieved from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence during the FBI’s 2022 search. Once they determined the container didn’t contain “potentially privileged documents,” the team turned the box over to on-site investigators for review.

The response explained that if investigators discovered a document with classified documents, they removed them, segregated the paperwork from other, non-classified material, and replaced the paperwork in the boxes with a placeholder. Prosecutors also noted that FBI agents used “classified cover sheets for that purpose.” [emphasis added]

Hot Hair claimed the revelation proved that Bratt had lied under oath when he said the FBI recovered cover sheets from Mar-a-Lago. The article argued that prosecutors provided them and then staged the now-infamous photo of the documents as part of a public relations stunt.

Maybe, Maybe Not

However, the facts surrounding the photograph’s release appear to discredit that account. For instance, Jack Smith’s team didn’t release the photo to media outlets or directly to the public. Instead, the image was included as an attachment to a 35-page court document filed by prosecutors in response to a lawsuit filed by Trump’s lawyers seeking the assignment of a special master.

Additionally, it’s common practice for FBI agents to display and then photograph evidence to accompany their written inventory of materials collected during the execution of a search warrant or at a crime scene.

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