Former President Donald Trump on Friday threatened a “major motion” involving the Fourth Amendment over the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home.
He offered no details, though he appeared to be referring to a court action. The Fourth Amendment provides protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
A federal judge approved a warrant for the FBI to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago social club and residence based on information provided by the Department of Justice.
FBI agents collected about 20 boxes of material from Mar-a-Lago, including 11 sets of classified information, reportedly containing some top secret documents. All material, whether classified or not, was supposed to have been turned over to the National Archives when Trump left office.
“A major motion pertaining to the Fourth Amendment will soon be filed concerning the illegal Break-in of my home, Mar-a-Lago, right before the ever important Mid-Term elections,” Trump wrote in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social.
“My rights, together with the rights of all Americans, have been violated in a level rarely seen before in our County,” he added.
“The greatest Witch Hunt in USA history has been going on for six years, with no consequences to the scammers.”
Trump was apparently referring to investigations that have involved him or his campaigns, including two House impeachments and a special prosecutor probe into reported Kremlin interference in the 2016 election.
Screen Shot/Truth Social/Donald Trump
Several legal experts scoffed at the possibility of any successful “major motion” by Trump based on the Fourth Amendment.
Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman speculated in a Twitter post that Trump was likely referring to a motion to suppress evidence, which people do after — not before — charges are filed. “And he’ll surely lose,” Litman wrote.
Trump promises a “major motion pertaining to the 4th Am” re MAL search.Presumably he means a motion to suppress evidence, which people file once charged (but not before), & he’ll surely lose. Looking forward to discussing on @SRuhle w/ @lukebroadwater & @IAmAmnaNawaz @ 11PM ET.
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) August 20, 2022
University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck noted that it’s currently “virtually impossible to sue federal law enforcement officers for even egregious violations of the Fourth Amendment,” much less in Trump’s case.
Wait until he finds out that #SCOTUS has made it virtually impossible to sue federal law enforcement officers for even egregious violations of the Fourth Amendment… pic.twitter.com/VyGiitUuc1
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) August 19, 2022
University of California, Berkeley, law professor Orin Kerr quipped that he’s “hearing if Trump files a major motion, DOJ is planning a super mega opposition to the motion.”
I’m hearing that if Trump files a major motion, DOJ is planning a super mega opposition to the motion.
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) August 20, 2022
Lawyer George Conway suggested that Trump would be better off sticking to the “Fifth.”
Look, Donald, the Fourth Amendment says that search “Warrants shall issue … upon probable cause.”
It’s not your friend.
You’re better off sticking with the Fifth. pic.twitter.com/4zw4L2t2sd
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) August 20, 2022
The Mar-a-Lago search warrant has already been publicly released, and it revealed Trump is being investigation for possible violation of the Espionage Act, obstruction, and destruction or removal of documents.
On Thursday, Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered the Justice Department to submit a redacted version of the affidavit that was used to justify the warrant by next week. Reinhart would then decide if he is satisfied with the redactions or whether he would make his own.
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