'Trump himself likely behind the attorney’s false claims': Legal experts suggest Trump purposely lied to his attorneys
Donald Trump addresses supporters at the Peabody Opera House in Downtown Saint Louis in 2016. (Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com)

On Tuesday, September 13, federal Judge Bruce Reinhart unsealed additional parts of the affidavit that was used as the basis for the FBI’s August 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Palm Beach, Florida.

Although a heavily redacted version of the affidavit had been released in August, attorneys for the DOJ pushed for more parts of the affidavit to be unsealed, and new details in the affidavit that have been made publicly available, legal experts allege, indicate that Trump may have made false or misleading statements to his attorneys — who repeated them to DOJ officials.

One of the legal experts who has weighed in on the newly unsealed parts of the affidavit is Joyce White Vance, a University of Alabama law professor and former federal prosecutor who is a frequent guest on MSNBC.

Watch below:

'Trump himself likely behind the attorney’s false claims': Legal experts suggest Trump purposely lied to his attorneys'Trump himself likely behind the attorney’s false claims': Legal experts suggest Trump purposely lied to his attorneys

Vance told MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace — who served as White House communications director under President George W. Bush — “There's more of an implication in this newly released information that the former president did play a role in the provision of information about documents to whoever the lawyer was who certified this information to the Justice Department. There's this implication that documents were stored in storage areas and that there was nothing in personal offices, and that seems like the sort of information that would have been very likely to come from the former president. So, this gives DOJ more of the basis to move forward.”

The judge released additional information on Tuesday on the basis that Trump's lawyers had disclosed some of it in their court filings so there was no sense in that section remaining under wraps, the Associated Press reported.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in relation to his possession of the records, claiming that they were broadly declassified before leaving office and that many are shielded under executive-privilege rules. Just this morning, Trump again claimed that he had “absolute authority” as president to declassify documents, and that he had declassified the files found at Mar-a-Lago by the FBI in its August search.

But Trump's lawyers have notably not made that argument in any legal filings.

Regardless of whether or not Trump's claim is true – and whether or not the documents are classified or even declassified – for his legal defense right now, it may not matter, experts told USA TODAY.

That's because the federal laws used to justify the Aug. 8 search do not require the documents to be classified for a crime to be committed.

In fact, the provisions of federal law contained in the Espionage Act, obstruction, and the mishandling of government records and reports mentioned in the search affidavit don't even include the words "classified" or "confidential."

The first two carry the heftiest penalties of fines and up to 10 and 20 years in prison, respectively.