31.08.2022, USA, Washington: Seiten aus einer Gerichtsakte des Justizministeriums, zu den Ermittlungen nach der Hausdurchsuchung des ehemaligen US-Präsidenten Trump. Foto: Jon Elswick/AP/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

In the legal dispute over secret documents discovered during a search of former US President Donald Trump’s property, investigators see indications of a possible obstruction of justice. The responsible US prosecutors submitted papers to a court in Florida on Tuesday (local time) in which they present their evidence.

“Evidence has been found that government records were likely hidden and removed from the storage room (at Trump’s mansion) and that efforts were likely made to obstruct the investigation (…),” the Justice Department wrote in the late Tuesday evening (local time). ) published court document.

The encrypted files were believed to have been deliberately hidden from the FBI when US federal police first visited the mansion in June to retrieve the documents the ex-president had kept at his residence after he left the White House in January 2021. Trump employees incorrectly stated that all government documents had been returned.

In addition, Trump’s lawyers had “expressly forbidden” at the time to open or look at boxes stowed in a storage room. There is evidence “that government records were likely hidden and removed from the storeroom and that efforts were likely made to obstruct the government investigation.”

It is the first time that the public prosecutor’s office has made such allegations publicly. An American law requires that a president’s letters, memos, e-mails, faxes and other written correspondence be archived for posterity. The Justice Department said it had tried several times to get all the documents back.

In early August, the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. The FBI confiscated several sets of documents classified as top secret. Since Trump is said to have kept the documents in his private estate after his term in office, he may have broken the law.

This is now being investigated. Trump criticized the actions of the authorities as politically motivated. The Republican was president from 2017 to 2021, he could run for a second term in 2024.

During the search, emergency services confiscated numerous boxes with more than a hundred confidential documents in 13 boxes, some of which were subject to the highest levels of secrecy, as the ministry now wrote. Contrary to a Trump lawyer’s assurance in early June that such documents would only be kept in the storage room in Mar-a-Lago, secret documents were also found in Trump’s office there.

Last week, Trump asked a Florida court to appoint a special representative to review the documents seized during the search. Judge Aileen Cannon announced on Saturday her preliminary intention to appoint such a neutral examiner.