Help offered by special master could cost Trump $500 an hour

Raymond Dearie, the special master overseeing documents seized from Donald Trump’s home, says he will need help sifting through the more than 11,000 records, and it could cost the former president dearly.

Dearie, a New York-based federal judge, outlined his plan for reviewing the documents in a court filing on Thursday. The plan Dearie signed proposes that he will need the help of James Orenstein, a retired magistrate, who will bill Trump at a rate of $500 an hour. The potential additional legal costs come after a series of recent legal setbacks for Trump.

Appointed special master last week, Dearie is tasked with sorting through records recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in August that are potentially protected by attorney-client or executive privilege. Trump’s attorneys successfully applied for the appointment of the special master and suggested Dearie, who has until November 30 to complete her review.

Former President Donald Trump applauds as he arrives at the Conservative Political Action Conference on August 6, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. The special master appointed to oversee the review of documents seized from Trump’s home has offered to hire help at the cost of $500 an hour to Trump.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Dearie’s plan says Orenstein “has experience handling complex cases, lien reviews, warrant proceedings, and other issues that may arise during the course.” Orenstein, who holds a top-secret clearance, also served as an adviser to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees vetting of foreign spies.

Under the plan, beginning Oct. 1, Dearie will begin sending invoices for Orenstein’s work, which Trump’s lawyers can challenge. Dearie said he would not seek any further compensation.

“OMG I DEAD!!!” Ron Filipkowski, Trump critic and former federal prosecutor, reacted on Twitter.

Dearie’s plan comes a day after the Department of Justice (DOJ) won a notable victory after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned part of a district judge’s order that barred investigators federal officials to examine classified documents recovered from Trump’s vacation home in South Florida.

The decision means the DOJ will not have to turn over the documents marked classified to Dearie for review. The three-judge panel, which included two Trump appointees, also undermined Trump’s insistence that he declassify any documents he took with him when he left the White House.

“[Trump] did not even attempt to demonstrate that he needed to know the information contained in the classified documents,” the panel wrote in its decision. “Nor has it established that the current administration has waived this requirement for these documents.”

During a hearing on Tuesday, Dearie reportedly pressed Trump’s legal team to justify the ex-president’s claims that he had declassified the documents, telling them they couldn’t “have your cake and eat it too. “.

In the document review plan he signed on Thursday, Dearie clarified that Trump’s legal team must explain why any documents seized are protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, as well as any document considered personal.

Dearie also ordered the government to submit a detailed list of assets taken from Mar-a-Lago and that Trump’s attorneys will have the opportunity to challenge the accuracy of the list by September 30. This gives Trump’s legal team one last chance to support the former president. claim that the FBI filed evidence during the search of his residence.

“This submission will be the last opportunity for the claimant to raise any factual disputes as to the completeness and accuracy of the detailed property inventory,” Dearie wrote in the plan.

Newsweek contacted Trump’s legal team for comment.


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