Trump docs investigation: Court lifts hold on Mar-a-Lago records

A page from a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruling that lifts a judge's hold on the Justice Department's ability to use classified documents seized by the FBI at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, is photographed Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. The ruling clears the way for the department to immediately resume its use of the documents in its investigation.(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stark repudiation of Donald Trump's legal arguments, a federal appeals court on Wednesday permitted the Justice Department to resume its use of classified records seized from the former president's Florida estate as part of its ongoing criminal investigation.

The ruling from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit amounts to an overwhelming victory for the Justice Department, clearing the way for investigators to continue scrutinizing the documents as they consider whether to bring criminal charges over the storage of of top-secret records at Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House. In lifting a hold on a core aspect of the department's probe, the court removed an obstacle that could have delayed the investigation by weeks.

The appeals court also pointedly noted that Trump had presented no evidence that he had declassified the sensitive records, as he maintained as recently as Wednesday, and rejected the possibility that Trump could have an “individual interest in or need for” the roughly 100 documents with classification markings that were seized by the FBI in its Aug.