Judge Names Trump Pick For Special Master, Denies DOJ Request To Limit Review
Former US President Donald Trump during the America First Policy Institute's America First Agenda Summit in Washington, D.C., US, on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Trumps remarks come on the heels of a House hearing that portrayed him standing by indifferently, even vindictively, for hours as a mob of his supporters battled police and chased lawmakers through the halls of the Capitol. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Judge Aileen Cannon tapped a senior federal judge to serve as special master and review the materials seized in the August FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence.

Cannon appointed Raymond Dearie, a senior U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of New York, to serve as special master on Thursday. Trump’s legal team offered up Dearie as one of its preferred candidates for the position, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) later approved of Dearie as well.

“The Special Master shall review all of the materials seized during the August 8, 2022 execution of a court-authorized search warrant on the premises” of Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago, Cannon wrote in a Thursday order. Dearie must be given access to all materials seized by the FBI, including a number of documents that the government claims are classified and which served as the basis for the raid.

In an additional order published Thursday, Cannon denied the DOJ a request for a partial stay on her earlier decision confirming her intention to appoint a special master. The government had asked that the FBI be allowed to continue its criminal investigation involving the classified documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago and to exempt those documents from special master review.

Cannon gave the special master a deadline of November 30 to finish his review and make recommendations about the materials. Dearie is authorized to review the materials and will serve as a mediator between the FBI and Trump’s legal team on which documents are privileged, and if they rightfully belong to the government or Trump.

The special master is tasked with “[c]onducting a privilege review of the Seized Materials and making recommendations to the Court as to any privilege disputes between the parties (including any formal assertions of executive privilege)” and “[i]dentifying personal items/documents and Presidential Records in the Seized Materials and making recommendations to the Court as to any categorization disputes between the parties,” the order states.

In addition to overseeing privilege disputes and making recommendations to the court, Dearie is also charged with ensuring that the inventory list the DOJ supplied to the court of the materials seized in the raid “represents the full and accurate extent of the property seized from the premises.”

Cannon’s order also gives Trump’s legal team access to the documents and other materials seized by the FBI. The FBI must “[p]rovide to Plaintiff’s counsel copies of documents not marked as classified,” the order states.

For documents that are marked classified, the FBI must make those available for Trump’s counsel to view “with controlled access conditions (including necessary clearance requirements) and under the supervision of the Special Master.”

Dearie was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in 1986 by then-President Ronald Reagan. He later served seven years on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), during which time Dearie approved a flawed FBI surveillance application for Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, according to Fox News.

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