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The controversy over former President Donald Trump’s handling of documents is being cast in a new light.
One of Trump’s lawyers, Timothy Parlatore, reportedly said his boss used an empty manilla folder marked “Classified Evening Summary” as a make-shift lampshade to block the light on his bedroom landline telephone that was keeping him up at night.
“He has one of those landline telephones next to his bed, and it has a blue light on it, and it keeps him up at night. So he took the manilla folder and put it over so it would keep the light down so he could sleep at night,” Parlatore told CNN. “It’s just this folder. It says ‘Classified Evening Summary’ on it. It’s not a classification marking. It’s not anything that is controlled in any way. There is nothing illegal about it.”
Parlatore is representing Trump in Jack Smith’s special counsel investigation into the former president’s handling of government documents after leaving office and circumstances leading up to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
CNN previously reported, based on unnamed sources, that the folder was given to the Justice Department along with materials with classified markings and a laptop belonging to an aide to Trump sometime between December and January following a subpoena in May.
The aide copied some pages with classified markings onto the laptop without realizing they classified, Parlatore reportedly assured CNN. “We’ve tried to do searches of all the relevant places, and anytime we’ve found anything, we’ve immediately turned it over,” he said.
Trump has broadly denied any wrongdoing. He has been severely critical of the investigation ever since it entered the public’s view in August 2022 when the FBI raided Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s Florida resort, to recover classified documents that Trump had allegedly refused to hand over to the government.
Contrary to Parlatore’s claim of cooperation, Trump responded to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of Smith as special counsel just days after Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign in November by telling Fox News he “won’t partake” in the inquiry. Trump also lamented what he described as the “worst politicization of justice in our country.”