Rare Point of Agreement in Fight Over Mar-a-Lago Docs

Justice Dept. is OK with one of the Trump team's picks for special master
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 13, 2022 1:29 AM CDT
Rare Point of Agreement in Court Fight Over Docs Seized at Mar-a-Lago
Former President Donald Trump, center cart, rides around his golf course at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Justice Department said Monday that it was willing to accept one of Donald Trump's picks for an independent arbiter to review documents seized during an FBI search of the former president's Florida home last month, the AP reports. The accommodation could help accelerate the selection process and shorten any delays caused by the appointment of the so-called special master. The judge in the case, granting a request from the Trump team, said last week that she would appoint a neutral arbiter to go through the records and weed out any that may be covered by executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.

Department lawyers said in a filing Monday night that, in addition to the two retired judges whom they earlier recommended, they would also be satisfied with one of the Trump team selections—Raymond Dearie, the former chief judge of the federal court in the Eastern District of New York. He is currently on senior active status, and the department said he had indicated he was available and “could perform the work expeditiously” if appointed. It was not immediately clear whether US District Judge Aileen Cannon would name Dearie or someone else. The Trump team said earlier Monday that it opposed both Justice Department selections but was not prepared to say why publicly at the moment.

Both sides on Friday night proposed different names of candidates who could serve as special master, though they disagreed on the scope of duties the person should have. Cannon has said the yet-to-be-named arbiter would be tasked with reviewing the documents and segregating out any that could be covered by claims of either executive privilege or attorney-client privilege. The Justice Department said in its proposal that the special master should not have access to classified documents, or be empowered to consider claims of executive privilege. Trump's lawyers have have said the arbiter should have access to the entire tranche of documents and should be able to evaluate executive privilege claims.

(Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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