Updated Sep 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge denies DOJ request, appoints special master in Trump Mar-a-Lago probe

Photo of Donald Trump looking out at a crowd of people holding hands and phones at him
Former President Trump arrives to speak during a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Sept. 3, 2022. Photo Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

District Court Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday denied the Justice Department's request to exclude classified documents from the special master review and appointed former New York federal judge Raymond Dearie to oversee the review.

Why it matters: Dearie will be charged with sifting through the records recovered from former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, including the classified material the DOJ wants to access as part of its criminal investigation.

Details: Cannon's previous order temporarily blocks "the government from reviewing and using the seized materials for investigative purposes" but not for national security interests.

  • The DOJ has argued that it needs access to classified information for both reasons.

What she's saying: "The Court does not find it appropriate to accept the Government’s conclusions on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expedited and orderly fashion," Cannon, a Trump appointee, wrote in the ruling.

  • The DOJ's arguments also fail to "establish that pausing the criminal investigative review pending completion of the Special Master’s work actually will impede the intelligence community’s ability to assess 'the potential risk to national security that would result from disclosure of the seized materials.'"

The big picture: Trump's legal team was the one that proposed the Reagan-appointed Dearie as a candidate for special master.

  • Though the DOJ had offered its own candidates, the agency later signaled that it would accept Dearie, who now serves as a senior judge on the New York circuit, in the role.
  • He has until Nov. 30 to complete his review. of the materials.

Editor's note: This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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