Special master appointed to oversee review of Mar-a-Lago documents

The special master will be senior judge Raymond Cherie, who was touted as a possible candidate for the role of special master by Trump, who had filed a lawsuit seeking the review. The Department of Justice also approved Dearie’s nomination.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon also denied the Justice Department’s request to relaunch its criminal investigation into classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago last month. The denial sets the stage for the department’s dispute with Trump over seeking to move quickly to an appeals court and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cannon gave the special master a Nov. 30 deadline to complete his review of potentially privileged documents. The timeline ends the review after the midterm congressional elections – essentially ensuring that the Mar-a-Lago investigation will proceed slowly over the next two months unless a higher court intervenes .

Dearie sits in District Court for the Eastern District of Brooklyn, where he has taken on senior status — meaning his caseload has been significantly lightened as he nears the end of his term on the federal bench.

He was named a judge by Ronald Reagan in 1986 and served for a time as Chief Judge of the Brooklyn District Court. He also served a seven-year term, ending in 2019, at the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

In her role as a FISA judge, Dearie was one of the judges who approved one of the Justice Department’s requests to surveil former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page as part of of the federal investigation into election interference in Russia in 2016.

The department’s process to obtain FISA warrants for Page was riddled with errors and negligence, a general review by the DOJ inspector later found. The IG review found omissions and errors in FBI court documents supporting the FISA claims, including in the documents submitted to Dearie.

Trump spoke out against the way the FISA warrants against Page were obtained, making his recommendation that Dearie review the Mar-a-Lago search notable. Legal observers from across the ideological spectrum, including vocal Trump critics, have also backed the choice.

More than 100 documents marked as classified seized

Trump filed a lawsuit seeking the special master two weeks after the Justice Department executed the search of his Florida residence and compound. Prosecutors are investigating at least three potential crimes: violations of the Espionage Act, unlawful manipulation of government documents and obstruction of justice.

During the search, according to court documents, investigators seized more than 100 documents marked as classified, which were obtained after Trump officials received a subpoena in May demanding that they return all such documents to the government. documents. When the FBI traveled to Mar-a-Lago in June to retrieve the documents, one of its attorneys signed a statement saying the subpoena had been complied with.

Trump, in his papers filed in the special main case, argued that his constitutional rights were violated during the Aug. 8 search, although Cannon herself has previously said she disagrees. with the fact that the court-authorized search amounted to a “ruthless disregard” of the former president’s rights.

According to his September 5 order initially granting Trump’s request for a special main review, Cannon decided it was necessary to build public confidence in the research and because Trump, as a former president, facing heightened reputational risks whether an indictment has been wrongly brought against him.
Trump claimed on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Thursday that he declassified government documents that were taken to Mar-a-Lago, but that’s not an argument he made in a legal setting.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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