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US: Judge declines DOJ request to find Trump team in contempt


By Charles Kim From Newsmax

A federal judge turned away a Department of Justice request to hold the office of former President Donald Trump in contempt for not complying with a grand jury subpoena regarding the return of classified documents to the National Archives, NBC News reported.

According to the report, U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia made the ruling denying the DOJ’s request following a closed hearing in Washington Friday.

News outlets and the public were not allowed in the proceeding, which took about 90 minutes, according to reporters who witnessed the attorneys in the case entering and exiting the courtroom.

The Washington Post reported that federal prosecutors requested the contempt charge for Trump’s office after two documents marked as “classified” were recently discovered in a storage unit not far from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Earlier this year, the FBI raided Trump’s home and found 103 classified documents that were supposed to be returned to the National Archives after Trump left office in January 2021.

The raid helped spur Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel, Jack Smith, to criminally investigate Trump in relation to having the documents as well as his involvement in the protest and riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

That investigation involves Trump’s alleged mishandling of sensitive documents since leaving the Oval Office. Trump maintains the documents are his personal property, while the government asserts they involve national security issues, according to the report.

The former president has denied any wrongdoing, and a spokesman from his office said Friday they will remain “cooperative” with DOJ investigators.

“[Trump] and his counsel will continue to be transparent and cooperative, even in the face of the highly weaponized and corrupt witch hunt from the Department of Justice,” the spokesman told NBC News.

The Justice Department declined the news outlet’s request for comment.

The contempt hearing comes just days after another federal appeals court reversed a Florida federal judge’s order that a special master be appointed to go through the documents seized in the August Mar-a-Lago raid before the DOJ could review them as part of the criminal investigation.

That decision will allow investigators to review an estimated 11,000 documents taken from the estate, according to the NBC News report.

Because the contempt hearing Friday contained information from grand jury proceedings, the hearing and Howell’s subsequent ruling remain sealed.

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