Veteran New York judge named arbitrator in Trump Mar-a-Lago inquiry

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday appointed a veteran New York City lawyer to serve as an independent arbiter and review records seized during an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home last month.

In her order, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon denied a Justice Department request to lift her temporary ban on the department’s use of the approximately 100 classified records that were seized in the Aug. 8 search. She also granted newly appointed special master Raymond Dearie access to the entire tranche of documents seized from the property, even though the department had said the arbitrator should not be allowed to inspect the batch of classified documents.

The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge’s order in a federal appeals court. He had given Cannon until Thursday to suspend his order prohibiting continued review of classified records, and said he would ask the 11th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to intervene if it didn’t at the time.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice did not immediately send a message Thursday evening.

The selection of Dearie, a former federal prosecutor who for years served as chief justice of the Brooklyn-based federal court, came after the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers made it clear they would be happy with his appointment. as a so-called special judge. Master.

In this role, Dearie will be tasked with reviewing documents taken from the Mar-a-Lago search and separating those that may be covered by claims of privilege. It’s unclear how long the work will take, but the Special Lead Process has already delayed the investigation, with Cannon ordering the Justice Department to temporarily suspend key aspects of its investigation.

The Justice Department is investigating the hoarding of top secret documents and other classified Florida property documents after Trump left office. The FBI says it recovered more than 11,000 documents from the house during its search, including about 100 with classification marks.

Trump’s lawyers had asked a judge last month to appoint a special master to conduct an independent review of the records and separate anything that might be covered by claims of executive privilege or professional secrecy. The Justice Department argued that the appointment was unnecessary, saying it had already conducted its own review and that Trump had no right to raise claims of executive privilege that usually allow the President to withhold certain information from the public and from Congress.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, disagreed and asked both sides to nominate potential candidates for the job. She also ordered the Justice Department to suspend its review of the documents for investigative purposes until “a further court order” or until the special master completes his review.

The Trump team recommended Dearie or a Florida attorney for the job. The Justice Department said that in addition to the two retired judges whose names it submitted, it would also be pleased with an appointment to Dearie.

Dearie served as the lead federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York from 1982 until 1986, when he was appointed to the federal bench by then-President Ronald Reagan. He also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorizes Justice Department wiretap requests in investigations involving suspected agents of a foreign power.

He took on senior status in 2011, but the Justice Department said he remains active and told officials he was available for the job and could work quickly if appointed. .

Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.



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