Judge Declines to Hold Trump, Lawyers in Contempt

Issue in hearing was whether former president is in compliance with subpoena seeking classified documents
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2022 7:25 PM CST
Updated Dec 9, 2022 4:50 PM CST
Justice Department Asks Judge to Hold Trump in Contempt
Former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., where FBI agents seized documents on Aug. 8.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
UPDATE Dec 9, 2022 4:50 PM CST

A federal judge passed Friday on prosecutors' request to find former President Donald Trump and his lawyers in contempt of court, instead urging the two sides to work out their issues, ABC News reports. The Justice Department request—involving a subpoena seeking the return of classified records by Trump—was considered in Washington, in a hearing that was closed because it involves grand jury proceedings, per CNBC. Media organizations asked for and were denied access. The court did not immediately announce the decision, per CNN.

Dec 8, 2022 7:25 PM CST

At a hearing Friday, a federal judge will be asked to hold a former president in contempt of court. The Justice Department has made the request of US District Judge Beryl Howell, CNN reports, saying former President Donald Trump and his lawyers have failed to comply with a subpoena issued months ago that seeks the return of all documents marked classified. Trump's team said last month that it had looked for more of the records in a couple of places and found two documents. With those turned over, the legal team said, Trump has now complied with the subpoena.

But the FBI doesn't see it that way and has become increasingly frustrated about the issue, per the Washington Post. A central issue is the persistent refusal by Trump's team to name a custodian of records, who could sign a document swearing that all classified materials have been given back to the government. Trump's team argues that it's unreasonable to ask a lawyer to sign such a blanket certification. A spokesman, Steven Cheung, said Trump's lawyers "continue to be cooperative and transparent." A Justice Department spokesman did not comment. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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