A special master has been appointed to act as a firewall between the Justice Department and materials seized during an Aug. 8 raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
In a pair of Thursday orders from federal district Judge Aileen Cannon, the DOJ’s motion to access a subset of classified records stored on the Trump property was denied, and a recently retired judge that both the DOJ and Trump’s team agreed on – recently retired Judge Raymond Dearie – will serve as special master.
Raymond has until Nov. 30, 2022 to complete his review.
Cannon struck down the DOJ’s request for a partial stay of an earlier motion on accessing the seized materials, after lawyers for the government argued that they should be able to review over 100 classified documents taken during the raid – as they are not covered by any claims of personal property or executive privilege.
That said, Cannon sided with a DOJ request for Trump to pay the full cost associated with a special master.
“If the court were willing to accept the government’s representations that select portions of the seized materials are—without exception—government property not subject to any privileges, and did not think a special master would serve a meaningful purpose, the court would have denied plaintiff’s special master request,” wrote Cannon. “The court does not find it appropriate to accept the government’s conclusions on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expedited and orderly fashion.”