Lawyers for former US president Donald Trump have tried to downplay the federal government’s discovery of highly classified records inside his Florida mansion.
It comes a day after a photo was released showing top secret documents uncovered in an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.
On Thursday, at 1pm local time, Mr Trump’s legal team will try to convince federal judge Aileen Cannon, sitting in a West Palm Beach court, to appoint a “special master” to review the seized documents.
They were found by the FBI during a raid on the estate on 8 August as part of an investigation into whether Mr Trump took classified records from the White House.
Mr Trump’s lawyers, in a filing to the court, said: “Simply put, the notion that presidential records would contain sensitive information should have never been cause for alarm.”
They also attacked the Justice Department for carrying out the search, saying that Mr Trump was involved in a “give-and-take” with the US National Archives over the return of presidential records at the time that was “standard”.
The filing further claims that Mr Trump allowed FBI agents to “come to his home and provide security advice”.
As well as releasing the photo of several classified documents, some of which are marked as “top secret//sci”, spread out on the floor, the US Justice Department claims it uncovered efforts to obstruct its investigation into the discovery of classified documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
A filing by the department states that “government records were likely concealed or removed” from a storage room even after Mr Trump’s representatives had told officials they had thoroughly searched the property.
The investigation into obstruction does not necessarily mean that Mr Trump or anyone else will face charges, but it could pose the most direct legal threat to the ex-president and those who help him.
Senior Republicans were at first highly critical of the FBI search of Mr Trump’s estate. Since new details emerged they have been quieter.
But the raid is said to have resulted in a highly charged political atmosphere, with NBC News reporting of the threat of political violence in the upcoming mid-term elections, because of the backlash from Mr Trump’s supporters.
The “special master” the Trump team wants the court to approve would be an independent third party, sometimes appointed in sensitive cases to review materials potentially covered by attorney-client privilege to ensure investigators do not improperly view them.