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Biden DOJ Accepts Trump-Recommended Judge for Special Master

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Department of Justice stated its open to accepting one of former President Donald Trump’s picks to serve as a “special master” to review the documents that the FBI seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in early August.

In a court filing this week, prosecutors said they would approve of Raymond J. Dearie due to his “substantial judicial experience,” which includes presiding “over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns.”

Dearie is a former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

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For its part, the DOJ suggested that former federal judge Barbara S. Jones or former federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith should be appointed by the court to serve as the “special master.”

“The government understands that each of the three candidates with prior judicial experience also currently employs staff who could assist in timely performing the duties assigned to the special master,” the filing said. “In selecting among the three candidates, the government respectfully requests that the Court consider and select the candidate best positioned to timely perform the special master’s assigned responsibilities.”

The DOJ is also requesting that the court force Trump to pay for the special master in the case, but Trump has said that they should split the cost, Mediaite reported.

“Plaintiff proposes to split evenly the professional fees and expenses of the Special Master and any professionals, support staff, and expert consultants engaged at the Master’s request,” it said in the filing.

“The Government’s position is that, as the party requesting the special master, Plaintiff should bear the additional expense of the Special Master’s work,” it said.

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The DOJ also recently appealed the decision of the judge who appointed a special master to oversee the documents seized from Trump’s private residence.

It also asked that asked Judge Aileen Cannon pause her order that blocked the Department of Justice from continuing to review the documents, NBC News reported.

The moves came three days after Cannon approved Trump’s request for a special master to sift through the seized materials to identify personal items and records that are protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.

The DOJ had opposed that request, saying a team of agency officials had already completed a privilege review of the documents, and that a special master could harm the government’s national security interests.

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In another court filing Thursday, the DOJ asked Cannon to make public a notice on the status of that team’s filter review process, which had been filed under seal on Aug. 30.

This week U.S. District Judge from the Southern District of Florida Judge Aileen M. Cannon on Monday ordered that a special master be appointed to review records seized last month by the FBI during a raid at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

She ordered that an independent third-party be appointed to “review the seized property, manage assertions of privilege and make recommendations thereon, and evaluate claims for return of property.”

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“The Court hereby authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney- client and/or executive privilege,” the order states.

“Furthermore, in natural conjunction with that appointment, and consistent with the value and sequence of special master procedures, the Court also temporarily enjoins the Government from reviewing and using the seized materials for investigative purposes pending completion of the special master’s review or further Court order,” it adds.

The order, though, “shall not impede the classification review and/or intelligence assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) as described in the Government’s Notice of Receipt of Preliminary Order.”

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