Fake Documents Struck From Trump Search Case

Fake Documents Struck From Trump Search Case
A view of former U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home after FBI agents raided it, in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 9, 2022. (Marco Bello/Reuters)
Zachary Stieber

Purported U.S. government documents that ordered CNN to preserve "leaked tax records" and were entered into the search warrant case for former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence have been struck from the U.S. court system, after the government disavowed them.

The documents were purportedly submitted to the U.S. court in West Palm Beach, Florida, by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The department motioned to intervene in the case because federal officials had obtained "seized federal securities" containing sensitive information that was subject to the FBI's search warrant against Trump, according to one of the documents.

That document and others filed by the same party contained multiple errors. Despite this, they were still entered into the system by Angela Noble, the clerk for the court.

Another document was allegedly an arrest warrant served by federal agents at CNN's headquarters in Atlanta. The warrant ordered CNN to maintain the federal securities, which were described as leaked tax records, until further notice. Another supposed warrant was to a towing company in Michigan.

A top U.S. lawyer said on Sept. 19 that the filings were fake.

"The United States has confirmed the pleading was not submitted by the Department of the Treasury but rather mailed to the Clerk of Court by someone not associated with the Government," U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez, a Biden appointee who heads the Department of Justice's office in southern Florida, told the court.

He asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the search warrant for Trump's Mar-a-Lago and is overseeing warrant-related filings, to strike the documents from the record.

Hours later, Reinhart struck the documents.

Filed by Inmate?

The purported warrants were identical to paperwork filed in another case in federal court in Georgia brought by an inmate at the prison medical center in Butner, North Carolina. The case was thrown out, as were the array of other frivolous lawsuits the man has filed from his prison cell.

The man has been in custody for several years since he was found not competent to stand trial after an arrest for planting a fake explosive outside the Guardian Building, a skyscraper in Detroit. Since his incarceration, he has filed a range of lawsuits and has impersonated the Treasury Department, claimed to be a federal trustee, and claimed to be a lawyer for the Justice Department, a review of court records shows.

In the Georgia case, the man alleged that Trump and others had “acquired ‘millions of unredacted classified tax returns and other sensitive financial data, bank records and accounts of banking and tax transactions of several million’ Americans and federal government agencies,” court documents say.

The judge in that case called his suit “fanatic” and “delusional,” saying there was no way to “discern any cognizable claim” from the incoherent filings. “There is simply nothing indicating that he has any authorization to act on behalf of the United States,” the judge said.

The man has repeatedly impersonated federal officials in court records and has placed tax liens on judges using his false paperwork, according to two people familiar with the matter. Because of his history as a forger, his mail is supposed to be subjected to additional scrutiny from the Bureau of Prisons.

It’s unclear how the documents—the fake motion and the phony warrants—ended up at the court clerk’s office at the courthouse in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Noble's office didn't answer the phone or return a voicemail. A representative for Reinhart didn't respond to a request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.