An attorney for former President Donald Trump seemed to admit that the highly sensitive documents seized from Mar-a-Lago when the FBI executed a search warrant last month weren’t kept in the most secure of settings.
In fact, Alina Habba said on Fox News on Wednesday that the files were kept in an office where Trump “frequently” had guests.
Habba took issue with a photo the Justice Department included in its legal brief detailing the reason for the search warrant and what was discovered. That image showed top secret documents and other classified materials, with key information covered up, arranged on the floor:
Some of the documents found at Mar-a-Lago. (Photo: via Associated Press)
“I do have firsthand knowledge, as you know. I have been down there, I’m down there frequently,” Habba told Sean Hannity. “I have never seen that. I have never, ever seen that. That is not the way his office looks. Anybody that knows President Trump’s office, he has guests frequently there, it’s just a joke.”
The documents recovered during the search included highly sensitive materials that should only be kept in a secured facility. While Trump’s team has previously claimed that anything he had at Mar-a-Lago was kept secure, Habba’s admission that these items were actually in a room where he “frequently” had guests was unlikely to help his case.
Trump’s attorneys, advisers and insiders have come up with a number of unusual defenses for this stash of sensitive documents.
Rudy Giuliani, who served as Trump’s attorney after he lost the 2020 election, recently claimed Trump was just keeping them safe. And Trump attorney Christina Bobb said on Fox News that the documents were secure at Mar-a-Lago because “only certain members of staff can get there, and then there’s only one key” and “a limited number of people” had access to that area.
Habba raised eyebrows earlier in the day during another interview when she claimed the potential charge of espionage was “mundane.”
Observers were flummoxed by Habba’s latest comments:
One day there will be an entire seminar on how not to handle representation of a client called “Trump’s TV lawyers”.
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) September 1, 2022
Garland just has to be sitting back like holy shit they're making my job easy https://t.co/5qvebNO7Yi
— Brett Meiselas (@BMeiselas) September 1, 2022
Does Trump's new lawyer need a lawyer? She says she has "first-hand knowledge" about Trump's office and "something could be marked top secret, could be marked classified...he would have said this is declassified, it doesn't get a new marking all the time, he's left office..." https://t.co/Ew5qRIHt2H
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) September 1, 2022
I'm thinking Trump's attorney shouldn't be admitting that Trump had many random people going through the same room where he stored the TS/SCI documents https://t.co/VgpCUf7m04
— Rob Szczerba 🇺🇦 (@RJSzczerba) September 1, 2022
Trump’s lawyers and Hannity hilariously believe — or want Trump’s ignorant supporters to believe — that the FBI took this photo to show how messy Trump is… as if that’s the issue here. pic.twitter.com/IQhm08rbAf
— Ed Greenberger (@EdGreenberger) September 1, 2022
Alina Habba appears to be determined to make herself a witness against her own client. https://t.co/4hcPAdJyn2
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 1, 2022
She just... said... he has guests... frequently... in the place where top secret documents were found... https://t.co/o5tZjTPiwv
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) September 1, 2022
Nothing to see here, just Trump’s lawyer admitting on national TV that multiple people have been in the room where Trump kept Top Secret files. You can’t script this level of stupid. pic.twitter.com/weL3iK0i2G
— Christian Christensen (@ChrChristensen) September 1, 2022
Yo, this is Trump's lawyer here throwing him all the way under the bus https://t.co/vhhVkCZTYj
— I Smoked The Top Secret: SCI Documents (@BlackKnight10k) September 1, 2022
Does she not understand she's convicting her client?
Did Aline Habba get her law degree at Trump University? https://t.co/LZVO68mAH7
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) September 1, 2022
Literally everybody who's been in his office since January 20, 2021 will need to be interviewed. https://t.co/hBp39ZPd3r
— Pé🌻 (@4everNeverTrump) September 1, 2022
A FBI photo the Trump team basically asked the FBI to release has either on purpose only by accident got Trump and team to admit to all the elements of the crimes. Yes the documents where in his office and people without clearance frequently went into the office https://t.co/FNLeTrhIFS
— Jon Walker (@JonWalkerDC) September 1, 2022
— Mike Nelson (@mikenelson586) September 1, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.