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Home High profile The Trump valet wants to suppress all Mar-a-Lago search evidence citing the 4th Amendment and a Scalia opinion on 'general warrants' as the basis for the request

The Trump valet wants to suppress all Mar-a-Lago search evidence citing the 4th Amendment and a Scalia opinion on 'general warrants' as the basis for the request

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“The affidavits, despite the inclusion of abundant false and misleading conclusory claims, fail to set forth probable cause of the commission of a crime.”

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Donald Trump, Walt Nauta

Walt Nauta takes a phone from Former President Donald Trump during the LIV Golf Pro-Am at Trump National Golf Club, Thursday, May 25, 2023, in Sterling, Va. When Trump appears in federal court in Miami, he will likely be joined on the witness stand by a man well-practiced in standing by his side: Nauta, his alleged valet turned co-conspirator. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

One of the co-defendants in former President Donald Trump’s case is asking the judge to rule that the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant should be suppressed and ruled legally unfit to be used in the upcoming trial. Mar-a-Lago The defendant in the documents case is asking the judge to rule that the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant should be suppressed and ruled legally unfit to be used in the upcoming trial.

On Aug. 8, 2022, federal agents raided former the 45th president’s Palm Beach compound — part residence; part private club — returning with file boxes upon file boxes containing what federal prosecutors allege were illegally retained classified documents. The documents case includes the federal agents' claim of illegally retained classified documents..

Trump’s valet, Waltine “Walt” Nauta was also named as an original co-defendant. In a superseding indictment, Mar-a-Lago maintenance chief Carlos de Oliveira was added as a co-defendant.

Nauta argued the warrants used to execute the searches were invalid for various reasons, and the “evidentiary fruits” of those searches should be suppressed under the Fourth Amendment.

Nauta claims that the FBI’s affidavits used to support the search warrants did not contain sufficient probable cause.

The defense motion to suppress argues that the affidavits were drafted to create a false impression of probable cause and prevent the judge from making an independent determination of whether any national defense information was involved.

The defendant argues that the FBI’s affidavits fail to set forth probable cause of the commission of a crime by Nauta and did not show the commission of a crime by anyone.

The defendant also argues that because the affidavits did not offer an opinion by any intelligence officer that non-public information was at issue or that items with classification markings remained classified, the evidence gathered from the searches should be discarded.

More Law&Crime coverage: The Trump Docket: Trump tells Cannon that Bill Clinton ‘may still possess’ classified info while demanding Mar-a-Lago case dismissal

The defendant also argues that because the affidavits did not “offer an opinion by any intelligence officer that non-public information was at issue or that items with classification markings remained classified,” the evidence gathered from the ensuing searches should be discarded.

The motion argues that there was no valid basis to allege a criminal violation of § 793 by President Trump, much less any precedent for it.

In simpler terms, Nauta says that the affidavits were too broad and allowed a mass search based only on the suspicion that Trump had illegal document storage at Mar-a-Lago. In essence, the argument is that the government was conducting a fishing expedition with the Mar-a-Lago search.

Under the Fourth Amendment, such broad warrants and general searches are considered not allowed, Nauta explains, referring to a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court opinion. 2008 U.S. Supreme Court opinion authored by Antonin Scalia.

More Law&Crime coverage: Defense filing in Trump Mar-a-Lago case says all sides have ‘methodologically proceeded toward trial readiness’ while asking for judge to push back discovery deadlines

The defense motion directly accuses federal agents of violating the Fourth Amendment — at various times up to the Mar-a-Lago raid.

“After reviewing the applications, it is clear that the government sought warrants not for specific evidence of the committed crimes for which there was probable cause, but instead for a general search for any form of evidence that the government could use before a grand jury to claim probable cause,” the filing continues. “In simple terms, the government violated the core function of the Fourth Amendment: prohibiting general searches for a crime where the government lacks enough reason to believe the subject committed any offense.”

The motion also argues that the Mar-a-Lago warrants were part of an effort by a politicized U.S. Department of Justice to hinder the electoral chances of President Joe Biden’s political rival.

“[T]he selective, partisan, and vindictive use of criminal process in this case to undermine electoral participation by Donald Trump and to punish those who support or are employed by him, the misuse of process in this case, including the search warrant process, represents a serious threat to democracy,” the motion reads, ” the abuses outlined in this motion form only one part of that unconstitutional effort by the present Administration.”

Read the full suppression motion here.

 

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