The Justice Department is on board with one of Donald Trump’s picks to independently review documents seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago last month, according to a new legal filing submitted by the agency.
DOJ lawyers, in the Monday night filing, said along with the two ex-judges the feds recommended, they’d also be open to the appointment of Raymond Dearie, the former chief judge of the federal court in the Eastern District of New York.
The special master appointment would sift through records recovered from the former president’s Florida estate on Aug. 8. The feds and Trump’s lawyers have disagreed over the exact role of the independent third-party and which documents they should review.
Dearie, who is on senior active status, has signaled he “could perform the work expeditiously” if appointed by US District Judge Aileen Cannon, the Justice Department said.
The DOJ’s picks to review the trove of docs were retired Manhattan judge Barbara Jones or retired federal appeals court judge in DC Thomas Griffith, who was appointed by ex-President George W. Bush.
“Judges Jones, Griffith and Dearie each have substantial judicial experience, during which they have presided over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns,” the feds wrote in their legal filing.
The federal government rejected Trump’s other pick, Florida lawyer Paul Huck Jr. “who does not appear to have similar experience,” according to the filing.
Trump shot down both Jones and Griffith as the special master, but didn’t publicly say why.
Trump’s team also slammed the DOJ’s probe into whether Trump illegally kept classified documents, in an earlier Monday filing.
“This investigation of the 45th President of the United States is both unprecedented and misguided,” they wrote. “In what at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control, the Government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th President of his own Presidential and personal records.”
Judge Cannon signed off on Trump’s request for a special master and stopped, at least temporarily, the feds from going through documents as part of their probe.
The DOJ previously asked the judge to reverse that ruling, arguing keeping it intact could harm the investigation.
The Justice Department argued Trump was not supposed to keep presidential documents, while Trump’s legal team says in their filing the former commander-in-chief had wide ranging power to hold onto the records.
With Post wires
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