The Department of Justice’s request that a federal judge finds the office of former President Donald Trump in Contempt of court was denied on Friday (December 9).
The Justice Department had approached federal judge U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell to hold Trump’s office in contempt of court for their failure to comply with a grand jury subpoena issued in May.
The May subpoena required all classified material in the former President’s possession be handed over to the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA), but — following some investigation — the Department of Justice seized over one hundred classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
The DOJ’s filing was prompted by consultants for Trump finding and handing over two more classified documents discovered at a storage unit in West Palm Beach, Florida, used by the former President’s company — Trump Organization.
But Friday’s decision was a setback for a Justice Department that has been pursuing Trump for most of the last year.
Neither Trump nor the Department of Justice wanted to comment on Friday’s ruling, which occurred after a 90-minute closed-door session.
According to NBC, one of the first outlets to report on the story, a spokesperson for Trump indicated the former President and his legal team’s intention to “be transparent and cooperative.”
The spokesperson also referred to the investigation by the DOJ and subsequent litigation as a “highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt.”
Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing in storing classified material in his home and storage space, which the DOJ is investigating as mishandling sensitive information.
Instead, Trump has indicated that he had declassified all documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago before leaving the Oval Office.