Former US President, Donald Trump, has asked a judge to freeze the justice department’s investigation of files seized from his Mar-a-Lago home.
In a lawsuit, his legal team asked that an independent lawyer be appointed to oversee the documents that Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents took earlier this month.
Eleven sets of classified files were taken from Mr Trump’s Florida estate on August 8, according to the FBI.
Mr Trump is being investigated for potentially mishandling documents.
US presidents must transfer all of their documents and emails to a government agency called the National Archive – and the FBI is investigating whether Mr Trump improperly handled records by taking them from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after he left office in January 2021.
He has denied any wrongdoing and said the items were declassified.
In the 27-page document filed in a Florida court, Mr Trump’s legal team accused the justice department’s search as “simply wanting the camel’s nose under the tent so they could rummage for either politically helpful documents or support efforts to thwart President Trump from running again”.
“President Donald J Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primaries and in the 2024 General Election, should he decide to run,” it says.
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans,” it continues. “It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes.”
The “shockingly aggressive move” on Mar-a-Lago by about two dozen FBI agents took place “with no understanding of the distress that it would cause most Americans”, said Mr Trump’s lawyers.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a brief statement that prosecutors were aware of Mr Trump’s lawsuit, and would respond in court. The “search warrant at Mar-a-Lago was authorised by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause”, said spokesman Anthony Coley.
It comes as the New York Times reported on Monday that agents had so far recovered over 300 documents with classified markings from Mr Trump, including material from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency and the FBI.
Mr Trump’s legal action was filed in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday, before a judge that Mr Trump nominated to the bench in 2020. -BBC