This is exactly the kind of offbeat, one of a kind, news story that can be spun into conspiracy theory and that is what Donald Trump is doing with it. The Associated Press is reporting that a document, purportedly from the U.S. Treasury Department, claimed that Treasury had seized certain documents “related to last month’s search at Mar-a-Lago and included a warrant ordering CNN to preserve ‘leaked tax records.'” The document is a fake. It was introduced into the court system by mail, and it came from a serial forger currently incarcerated in North Carolina.
The man has repeatedly impersonated federal officials in court records and has placed tax liens on judges using his false paperwork, two people familiar with the matter told the AP. 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.
A photocopy of an envelope, included in the filing, shows it was sent to the court with a printed return address of the Treasury Department’s headquarters in Washington. But a postmark shows a Michigan ZIP code, and a tracking number on the envelope shows it was mailed Sept. 9 from Clinton Township, Michigan, the inmate’s hometown.
The AP is not identifying the inmate by name because he has a documented history of mental illness and has not been charged with a crime related to the filing.
But naturally Trump is running for his life with the story. It’s up on Truth Social, which is where I found it.
The document first appeared on the court’s docket late Monday afternoon and was marked as a “MOTION to Intervene by U.S. Department of the Treasury.”
The document, sprinkled with spelling and syntax errors, read, “The U.S. Department of Treasury through the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Marshals Service have arrested Seized Federal Securities containing sensitive documents which are subject to the Defendant Sealed Search Warrant by the F.B.I. arrest.”
It cited a federal statute for collecting financial records in federal investigations. The document also included the two supposed warrants, one that claimed to be sent to CNN in Atlanta and another to a towing company in Michigan.
Those supposed warrants, though, are 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.
And here’s the bottom line.
The incident also suggests that the court clerk was easily tricked into believing it was real, landing the document on the public docket in the Mar-a-Lago search warrant case. It also highlights the vulnerability of the U.S. court system and raises questions about the court’s vetting of documents that purport to be official records.
The good news is that the document didn’t stay there long. It was incompetently done and stood out like a sore thumb and it was easily discovered as fake. But all that will be ignored. Trump has fodder now for a claim of “fake documents,” being filed in connection with the Mar-a-Lago search warrant, “fake news,” and a conspiracy against him. That’s right up his alley. That’s what he wants and needs.
I wonder if he’ll talk about this in Ohio tonight at his J.D. Vance rally? This is perfect MAGA red meat.