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US v Trump: Defense to claim due process violations made in FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid

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At a hearing on Wednesday in the government’s classified documents lawsuit against the former president, Trump’s lawyers are expected to argue that Trump’s due process rights were violated when FBI agents searched his Mar-a-Lago property, violating attorney-client privilege.

The 11 a.m. hearing will be held behind closed doors, meaning reporters and the public will not be allowed to attend, in a way that protects the material contained in the grand jury secrecy and that the Trump campaign argues is subject to attorney-client privilege and work product protections.

The hearing will then be held again at 1pm and is open to the public.

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President Trump’s legal team has challenged the legality of the Mar-a-Lago attack. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida was searched by FBI agents in August 2022, and the Department of Justice reportedly recovered 15 boxes of classified materials from the mansion.

Trump’s defense will likely argue that the warrant “lacked the specifics required by the Fourth Amendment” and that any evidence obtained during the search should be dismissed as unconstitutional.

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Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida

Former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Additionally, in their filings, the former president’s defense lawyers cited examples of investigators acting in “bad faith” in their search activities and argued that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office lacks authority to assert a good faith exception to preserve evidence from the searches.

Trump’s lawyers are expected to explain their case Tuesday that the government misled the judge to obtain the search warrant in the first place.

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Files, documents

This image, included in a court document filed by the Department of Justice on Aug. 30, 2022, and partially edited by sources, shows photos of documents seized during an FBI search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Aug. 8. (Department of Justice via Associated Press)

Trump’s legal team is also expected to rely on allegations that the FBI violated the attorney-client privilege during its investigation. In their initial motion seeking relief regarding the searches, Trump’s legal team argues that the special counsel took “unusual and unlawful” actions to access legal communications between Trump and his lawyers that were protected by attorney-client privilege. The legal team argues that the court erred in applying the criminal fraud exception, which deprives Trump’s lawyer, M. Evan Corcoran, of certain protections under the attorney-client privilege.

Trump's secret documents in Mar-a-Lago room

This image, included in the indictment against former President Trump, shows boxes of records stored in the lake room bathroom and shower at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. (Department of Justice via Associated Press)

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Trump’s legal team said prosecutors have argued that the communications between Trump and Corcoran did not further any crime and therefore do not meet the requirements of the criminal fraud exception.

Trump’s defense initially sought in May to suppress evidence seized during the searches and allegedly obtained in violation of attorney-client privilege and to dismiss the indictment filed by the special counsel’s office.