Updated Sep 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ signals agreement to Trump's choice for special master

Photo of Donald Trump looking to his right
Former President Trump speaks at August's Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas. Photo: Brandon Bell via Getty Images

The Department of Justice signaled in a filing Monday that it would accept a special master candidate proposed by former President Trump's legal team for overseeing a review of the documents the FBI retrieved from Mar-a-Lago.

Why it matters: The selection of a special master has been a point of contention between Trump and the DOJ.

  • If Judge Aileen Cannon approves the pick, Judge Raymond Dearie would be charged with determining which documents should be shielded from the federal prosecutors who are investigating potential mishandling of classified material.

What they're saying: The DOJ wrote in its filing that Dearie, along with its two original nominees, has "substantial judicial experience, during which they have presided over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concern."

  • "In selecting among the three candidates, the government respectfully requests that the Court consider and select the candidate best positioned to timely perform the special master’s assigned responsibilities."

Background: The Reagan-appointed Dearie has served as a federal judge in New York since the 1980s and now serves as a senior judge on the circuit after retiring in 2011.

The big picture: Trump has asked Cannon to reject the DOJ's request for a stay of her ruling to let a special master review evidence seized from Mar-a-Lago.

  • Cannon's ruling temporarily blocked the DOJ from reviewing the documents, which the agency has said will cause "irreparable harm" to the government and the public.
  • It's unclear whether Cannon would lift that restriction once a special master is appointed and approved.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the DOJ in the court filing and further context.

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