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A judge is set to hear arguments Thursday afternoon over former President Donald Trump’s request to appoint an outside expert to review documents seized by the government during a search last month of his Mar-a-Lago estate.

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In a preliminary order filed Saturday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon said that she is inclined to appoint a special master to review the items.

Attorneys for Trump called the search “an unprecedented, unnecessary, and legally unsupported raid on the home of a President – and possibly a candidate against the current chief executive in 2024,” in a court filing Wednesday. They have accused the government of violating the former president’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure and questioned whether the search was politically motivated.

Trump’s legal team responds to DOJ filing

Authorities searched Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, three days after a judge approved of a warrant as part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act, as well as obstruction of justice and unlawful concealment or removal of government records. On Wednesday, officials said they found more than 100 documents marked as classified.

“The classification levels ranged from CONFIDENTIAL to TOP SECRET information, and certain documents included additional sensitive compartments that signify very limited distribution,” authorities said in a court filing. “In some instances, even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.”

DOJ cites efforts to obstruct probe of documents at Trump estate

Attorneys for Trump argued Wednesday that there was nothing suspicious about confidential documents being among the presidential records in their client’s possession. They characterized the search as an overreaction that ignored the former president’s earlier cooperation with authorities.

“Simply put, the notion that Presidential records would contain sensitive information should never have been cause for alarm,” attorneys said in a court filing, arguing that officials with the National Archives and Records Administration “should have simply followed up with (Trump) in a good faith effort to secure the recovery of the Presidential records.”

Trump lawsuit: What is a special master and why does Trump want one?

On Tuesday, officials said the government sought a search warrant only after exhausting other options. In January, Trump turned over 15 boxes of miscellaneous papers that included more than 180 confidential records – 25 of which were marked as top secret – following a year of requests from the National Archives and Records Administration, according to court records. Officials subsequently served the former president with a grand jury subpoena that prompted him to turn over 38 more classified documents in June, authorities said.

Officials said they later learned that the former president had apparently failed to turn over all the classified records in his possession, prompting them to seek the warrant.

Mar-a-Lago search: Redacted affidavit released

In all, authorities have recovered more than 300 classified records taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, government filings show. The documents include dozens marked as top secret, officials have said.

Trump has criticized the search of his Florida estate, calling it a “Break-In” and an “FBI/DOJ Raid” on social media.

“This assault was done for political purposes just prior to the Midterm Elections (and 2024, of course!),” he wrote on Saturday. “It is a disgrace to our now Third World Nation!”