Justice Department Says It’s OK With 1 Of Trump’s Picks For Mar-a-Lago Arbiter

by | Sep 13, 2022 | Politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 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.AdvertisementDepartment 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 U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon would name Dearie or someone else. The Trump team said earlier Monday that it opposed both Justice Department selections.The back-and-forth over the special master came as Trump’s lawyers in a 21-page filing Monday dismissed the former president’s retention of top-secret documents at Mar-a-Lago as a “storage dispute” and urged Cannon to keep in place a directive that temporarily halted key aspects of the Justice Department’s criminal probe. The Trump team referred to the documents that were seized as “purported ‘classified records,’” saying the Justice Department had not proven that the materials taken by the FBI during its Aug. 8 search were classified or remain so now.The filing underscores the significant factual and legal disagreements between lawyers for Trump and the U.S. government as the Justice Department looks to move forward with its criminal investigation into the retention of national defense information at Mar-a-Lago. Department lawyers in their own filings have rejected the idea that the documents, many of them classified at the top-secret level, belonged to Trump or that Mar-a-Lago was a permissible place to store them.Advertisement“This investigation of the 45th President of the United States is both unprecedented and misguided,” they wrote. “In wha …

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