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Trump Appointed Judge Makes Ruling On Who Will Pay For Special Master

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


Former President Donald Trump got near everything he wanted from a judge he appointed, except for one thing.

District Court Judge Aileen Cannon said that the former president will have to cover the cost of the special master assigned to review the documents.

The Department of Justice asked that the former president to pay for the special master in the case, but Trump said that they should split the cost, Mediaite reported.

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“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.

The judge appointed federal judge Raymond J. Dearie as the special master in the investigation, The Washington Post reported.

Dearie, 78, is a former chief federal judge in New York. President Ronald Reagan (R) nominated him to the federal bench in Brooklyn after he had served as a U.S. attorney in the same district. Fellow lawyers and colleagues describe him as an exemplary jurist who is well suited to the job of special master, having previously served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees sensitive national security cases.

In 2015, Dearie took the unusual step of reducing the prison sentences of three convicted Canadian terrorists, saying he had been “haunted” by the case and his growing sense that their sentences were unfair. Under federal law, Dearie had been required to sentence the men to 25-year terms for conspiring to acquire missiles on behalf of the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group fighting the government of Sri Lanka. He later cut those sentences to 15 years.

He still works as a federal judge with senior status but has signaled that he is planning on retiring.

Former chief federal judge Raymond Dearie, appointed by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon earlier this month, has directed attorneys for the former president as well as the Justice Department to come to New York City for a “preliminary conference,” Fox News reported Friday.

Lawyers for the two parties are being asked to submit “proposed agenda items” to discuss by Sept. 19, the outlet added.

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FBI officials say agents recovered around 100 items marked as ‘classified’ during the raid, though Trump has said he previously declassified everything in his possession before leaving office per his authority as president.

Fox News notes further:

Dearie was appointed by Cannon, a Trump appointee, who declined a request by the Department of Justice to lift the temporary prohibition of the department’s usage of around 100 classified records which were taken from Mar-a-Lago during the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s search on Aug. 8.

The former veteran chief federal judge will review and separate documents that are covered by claims of privilege. 

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The Justice Department’s investigation, which is being delayed by the special master process, is reviewing documents recovered by the FBI during its search of Trump’s Florida property.

Dearie was first nominated to the federal bench in 1986 by then-President Ronald Reagan.

A former top U.S. spy chief has said he believes the FBI came up short during its Aug. 8 raid.

John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. congressman from Texas whom Trump tapped to serve as director of national intelligence, told Fox News last week that the bureau didn’t find what they were looking” for, based on his observations.

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“I was a former federal prosecutor, United States attorney. Let me tell you what this is about. Good prosecutors with good cases play it straight. They don’t need to play games,” Ratcliffe said, in reference to Justice Department officials. “They don’t need to shop for judges, they don’t need to leak intelligence that may or may not exist.”

The Justice Department’s arguments against having a federal court appoint a special master to review allegedly classified documents “tells you that the government didn’t find what they were looking for,” Ratcliffe continued.

“There weren’t nuclear secrets” at Trump’s estate, he noted further, “and they’re trying to justify what they’ve done. They’re not playing it straight before the American people. I think that that’s going to play out.”

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