The Justice Department said it would be open to a judge to appoint one of the candidates put forward as a special master to review documents seized by former President Donald Trump’s legal team at Mar-a-Lago. filed in court Monday evening.
DOJ Senior Judge Raymond Deary agreed with its two proposed picks: retired federal judges Barbara Jones and Thomas Griffith.
“Each has substantial judicial experience during which they have presided over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns,” the attorneys wrote.
Deary, originally a nominee of former President Ronald Reagan, has served as a federal judge in New York since the 1980s. He retired in 2011 and is now a senior judge in the circuit.
Thierry served on the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA, for seven years. He was one of the judges who approved the FBI and DOJ request for surveillance Carter pageA foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign is part of a federal investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
It’s unclear when U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon will decide who will be the special master.
Cannon last week accepted Trump’s request for a third-party prosecutor outside the government to review the seized materials and asked each side to submit proposed candidates. Cannon ordered the Justice Department’s criminal investigators to hold off on using materials seized as part of their ongoing investigation until the special master completes his review.
“Plaintiff objects to the Justice Department’s proposed nominations. Plaintiff believes there are specific reasons why those nominees should not be preferred to serve as special master in this case,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.
The Justice Department nominated Griffith, who served as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., from 2005 to 2020, and Jones, a former federal prosecutor who served as a special chair in several recent high-profile trials.
The Trump team also nominated attorney Paul Hough Jr., a former partner at the Jones Day law firm. The Justice Department opposed Hough Jr., noting that he “doesn’t seem to have the same experience” as the three judges.
Trump lawyers argued Monday that the court did not ask for a detailed rationale and that they were trying to be “more respectful of candidates from either party.”
“Counsel further submits that it is highly honorable for candidates from both parties to withhold grounds for public opposition to, and widely distributed, pleas,” Trump’s attorneys wrote. “Therefore, Plaintiff asks this Court for permission to communicate our objections to the Government’s nominees only at such time as the Court indicates it wishes to receive and consider that information.”
Trump and the Justice Department have disagreed on other key aspects of the special master’s responsibilities, including how long the review should take, who is responsible for paying the special master, and what types of documents are subject to review.
Endorsing the government’s hope of expeditiously reviewing the thousands of documents seized by the FBI, the Justice Department wrote, “In selecting one of the three candidates, the government respectfully requests that the court consider and select the candidate best placed to timely fulfill the responsibilities assigned to the special master.”
This story has been updated with additional details.
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