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Speaker Johnson Joins Former President Trump At Mar-a-Lago For Announcement On Election Integrity

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Getting convicted of crimes involving hush-money payments to a porn star is pretty mortifying. But at times, it’s seemed like Donald Trump is actually more embarrassed by the classified-documents case against him because it has revealed the extent of his hoarding problems. Now, the Department of Justice has released even more photos of the clutter investigators found while searching Mar-a-Lago.

Last year, Trump pleaded not guilty to 40 criminal counts related to his alleged mishandling of classified materials after leaving the White House. The 49-page indictment, released in June 2023, was chock-full of photos that showed classified documents mixed with newspaper clippings and random Trump memorabilia. The papers were stored in dozens of Bankers Boxes, which were left unattended in Mar-a-Lago’s ballroom, a bathroom, and even tipped over on the floor.

Employees’ testimony revealed that they derisively referred to the materials as the former president’s “Beautiful Mind paper boxes” due to the way he obsessed over them. Trump was extremely defensive when the Justice Department exposed his piles of clutter. In a monologue that could have been pulled from an episode of Hoarders, Trump claimed his papers were “very neatly arranged” until investigators rifled through them and insisted he was going to organize them some day — he just “hadn’t had a chance to go through all the boxes.”

The Trump team actually tried to incorporate this point into his criminal defense. His attorneys recently made a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that investigators essentially destroyed evidence by failing to record the contents of the boxes in the exact order they were found.

This was probably a mistake. First, as the Washington Post explains, it’s hard to prove:

Their argument, known as a “spoliation of evidence” motion, typically carries a high legal threshold. Defense lawyers would have to show that prosecutors intentionally destroyed evidence to convince a judge to dismiss the case.

Second, it turns out prosecutors have even more embarrassing photos of Trump’s hoarding on hand.

On Monday night, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team defended the search process and urged district-court judge Aileen Cannon to reject the motion to dismiss. They noted that the former president “personally chose to keep documents containing some of the nation’s most highly guarded secrets in cardboard boxes along with a collection of other personally chosen keepsakes of various sizes and shapes from his presidency.”

The filing continued, “Against this backdrop of the haphazard manner in which Trump chose to maintain his boxes, he now claims that the precise order of the items within the boxes when they left the White House was critical to his defense, and, what’s more, that FBI agents executing the search warrant in August 2022 should have known that.”

Prosecutors said the contents of each box were preserved, and any papers strewn on the floor were found that way. They backed this up by releasing a new set of photos showing documents marked “secret” and “top secret” jumbled up among the clutter at Mar-a-Lago.

Here are all the new photos included in the filing.

This photo shows documents piled up next to cases of Diet Coke, MAGA hats, and a portrait of Trump with an eagle coming out his head:

Photo: US Department of Justice

This photo shows papers spilling from several tipped over Bankers Boxes stored next to a garment rack:

Photo: US Department of Justice

And here we have several photos of White House correspondence marked “confidential” and “secret” mixed up with old newspapers, golf shirts, and a crumpled plastic bag:

Photo: US Department of Justice

Photo: US Department of Justice

Photo: US Department of Justice

Photo: US Department of Justice

Photo: US Department of Justice

It’s hard to see how investigators could have preserved the exact “order” of the items in these boxes, but that’s a matter for Judge Cannon to decide.

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