WASHINGTON – Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to intervene in a legal battle over classified documents seized during an FBI search of his Florida property, escalating a dispute over the authority of an independent arbitrator appointed to review the documents.

Trump’s team asked the justices to overturn the lower court’s ruling and allow an independent arbitrator or special master to review about 100 classified documents that were seized during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, last month limited the special master’s review to a much larger portion of unclassified documents. The judges, including two Trump appointees, sided with the Justice Department, which argued there was no legal basis for the special master to conduct his own review of classified records.

But Trump’s lawyers said in their filing to the Supreme Court that it is essential for a special master to have access to classified records to “determine whether classified documents are in fact classified and, regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records. or presidential records.’

“Because President Trump has had absolute authority over classification decisions during his presidency, the current status of any disputed document cannot be determined solely by the markings on that document,” the filing said.

It said that without a special vetting general, “the undisputed views of the current Department of Justice override the established authority of the chief executive officer.”

The FBI says it seized about 11,000 documents during the search, including about 100 classified documents. Trump’s team asked Florida judge Eileen Cannon to appoint a special master to conduct an independent review of the records.

Cannon subsequently instructed veteran Brooklyn judge Raymond Deary to review the documents and separate those that might be protected by claims of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege. The Justice Department objected to Deera’s ability to view classified documents, prompting the 11th Circuit to side with the department.

Trump’s lawyers sent a statement to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees emergency cases in Florida and several other southern states. Thomas can act on his own or, as is commonly done, send an emergency appeal to the rest of the court.

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