Judge turns down DOJ request to hold Trump lawyers in contempt over classified documents
Donald Trump (AFP)

A judge has for the moment declined the United States Department of Justice's request to hold former President Donald Trump and his legal team in contempt of court.

ABC News reports that the judge overhearing the DOJ's request encouraged the DOJ and Trump's lawyers to come to some kind of agreement between themselves without requiring judicial intervention.

At issue is that Trump's lawyers so far have refused to appoint a custodian who can swear under oath that the former president has returned all of the classified documents that he has held on his properties and refused to hand over even after receiving a lawful subpoena.

According to a new report from CNN published on Friday, "Trump attorneys... received word in early November from Justice officials who said they believed the former president still had documents in his possession" even after he had defied a lawful subpoena and found himself subjected to a raid.

The attorneys feared that the DOJ could soon get authorization for additional raids, and so they hired an outside group to conduct searches on additional Trump properties to find any other documents.

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The DOJ, however, is not satisfied with this situation and it is trying to force Trump's legal team to designate an official custodian who can swear under penalty of perjury that all documents requested by the DOJ have been returned.

However, no one on Trump's legal team has been willing to come forward to serve as a custodian because "anyone selected would almost certainly face legal jeopardy," CNN reports.