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Federal judge appoints special captain to Mar-a-Lago. review seized documents

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A federal judge has appointed a special master to review documents the FBI seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate while the Justice Department blocked access to about 100 classified documents for use in the criminal investigation. denied.

In an injunction Thursday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon appointed Raymond J. Dearie, a senior U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of New York, to review all materials seized on Aug. 8. The Trump team had suggested Dearie and Justice. Officials had previously endorsed him as a potential arbitrator to determine whether any of the documents are protected by attorney-client or executive privileges.

The Justice Department had asked for the judge’s earlier motion to be postponed so that it could continue to review the seized documents for use in a criminal investigation. Cannon declined that request, saying she is not willing to accept all of the department’s claims outright without the special master’s assessment process.

“The Court finds it inappropriate to accept the government’s conclusions on these important and contentious issues without further investigation by a neutral third party in a prompt and orderly manner,” Cannon wrote in Thursday night’s ruling.

The Justice Department had argued that the Sept. 5 order hindered the intelligence community’s assessment of potential national security risks resulting from improper storage of the documents.

However, Cannon insisted on Thursday that her order did not stop the government from continuing to review the seized material for intelligence classification and national security assessments or to inform members of Congress.

The injunction, she said, blocked the government “from further using the contents of the seized material for criminal investigation purposes,” such as presenting the material to a grand jury and using it for witness examination for a criminal investigation pending investigation. Dearie’s recommendations.

The government is likely to challenge Thursday’s decision. The Justice Department said in a submit to court last week that it would appeal Cannon’s earlier injunction to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Documents seized at Mar-a-Lago recently.US District Court, Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division

Dearie, a former federal judge nominated by President Ronald Reagan, was among a few candidates recommended by Trump’s legal team for the role of special master. The Justice Department, which itself had proposed two candidates, later approved Dearie for the role.

Cannon explained the special captain’s duties to include conducting a “privilege review” of the documents and verifying them against property inventory, as well as making recommendations on personal items, documents and presidential records that may be under discussion between the parties.

Cannon said the special captain would also be responsible for evaluating property return claims.

The judge set a November 30 deadline for Dearie to complete his assessment and classifications.

Ken Dilanian contributed.

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