A federal judge has appointed a veteran New York judge to serve as an independent arbiter to review documents seized during the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago last month.
According to The Associated Press, Raymond Dearie, a former federal prosecutor who served as a chief judge of the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, has been selected as the special master. Former President Donald Trump’s team had nominated Dearie for the role.
Dearie will be responsible for reviewing documents removed from Mar-a-Lago during the August 8 search, according to the AP. He will also be able to separate anything out that could possibly be covered by “claims of privilege.”
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The AP said it is not clear how long it will take and that the special master process in the investigation has been delayed after a Florida judge directed the Justice Department to pause the probe temporarily.
According to The New York Times, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon declined to lift the injunction she issued last week that had barred the Justice Department from using any of the documents for investigative purposes until the special master has finished his review. This comes after the Justice Department had asked the judge to “partly stay,” on the order so they could resume going through the documents, stating that the freeze was “endangering national security.”
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The FBI said they recovered about 11,000 documents from Mar-a-Lago during its search last month, including more than 100 documents marked as classified that the Justice Department is investigating, according to the AP.
Trump’s team asked for a judge to name a special master to complete an independent review of the documents taken from his property. The Justice Department argued that it was unnecessary after completing their own review, according to the AP. The Justice Department also said that Trump didn’t have the right to raise executive privilege. However, Judge Cannon disagreed and asked both the Justice Department and Trump’s team to provide a list of possible candidates. Trump’s team recommended Dearie or a Florida lawyer. The Justice Department provided two retired judges’ names but agreed with Dearie.
According to the AP, Dearie served as a federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York from 1982 to 1986 and then was appointed by then-President Ronald Reagan to serve on the federal bench. He then joined the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The AP said Dearie gained senior status in 2011, but he remains active and let the officials know that he was available to be the special master if he was appointed.
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