Mar-a-Lago search: Court unseals detailed list of items seized from Trump estate

A judge on Friday unsealed a detailed list of items seized during a search last month of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

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In a court filing earlier this week, officials said they seized over 100 documents marked as classified during the search.

“The classification levels ranged from CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET information, and certain documents included additional sensitive compartments that signify very limited distribution,” officials said. “In some instances, even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.”

According to court records, officials seized more than two dozen confidential records from Trump’s office, including seven marked top secret. They also took several magazines, newspapers, press articles and other media, as well as 43 empty folders with classified banners and 28 empty folders labeled “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.”

Authorities also seized more than two dozen boxes from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago. Officials said the boxes contained 27 documents labeled confidential, 63 marked secret and 11 labeled top secret. Authorities also found several empty folders labeled classified or with the phrase, “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.” Several photos, books and 19 items marked “clothing/gift items” were also taken.

Government officials submitted the list to the court in Trump’s request to have an outside expert review the items taken by the government. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon heard arguments over whether to appoint a special master in the case on Thursday. Earlier, she said in a court filing that she was inclined to appoint a special master.

In a status review also unsealed Friday, government officials said authorities had completed a preliminary review of the items seized from Mar-a-Lago. Excluded were materials deemed to potentially fall under attorney-client privilege, officials said.

Authorities said they have evaluated the “relevance and character” of the seized items to determine further investigative steps.

“It is important to note, ‘review’ of the seized materials is not a single investigative step but an ongoing process in this active criminal investigation,” officials said in the status update.

Authorities searched Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, three days after a judge approved a warrant as part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act, as well as obstruction of justice and unlawful concealment or removal of government records.

Officials with the National Archives and Records Administration sought records from Trump throughout 2021 and got 15 boxes of miscellaneous papers – including more than 180 confidential records – in January, according to court records. Officials subsequently served the former president with a grand jury subpoena that prompted him to turn over 38 more classified documents in June, authorities said.

A representative of the president certified that the documents were the last confidential records in boxes taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s presidency. However, officials said they later got information indicating that the former president had failed to turn over all records in his possession, prompting them to seek a warrant to search the estate.

Trump’s attorneys have accused the government of violating his Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and questioned whether the search was politically motivated. Government officials have defended the search, saying it came after authorities exhausted all other options and that it was necessary to evaluate potential national security risks.