Mar-a-Lago search: Trump team and Justice Department suggest rival ‘special master’ candidates | Mar-a-Lago

The U.S. Department of Justice and Donald Trump’s lawyers were unable to agree Friday night on who to appoint as a so-called special master to review potential privilege protections for documents the FBI seized in the resort of former President Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.

The Justice Department and Trump met a deadline to submit a joint brief but failed to reach consensus on most of the key issues at stake: not only the identity of the special master but also the scope of the job. , and who should pay for the extra fee.

With the two sides unable to agree on who should serve as the special master, the Justice Department and Trump’s attorneys each offered two nominees, saying they would advise the judge handling the case, Aileen Cannon, of their positions after the weekend.

The Justice Department has nominated two retired federal judges: former U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones, who previously served as special master, and former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Griffith. DC Circuit and lecturer at Harvard Law School.

Trump’s lawyers have proposed a federal judge and a Florida attorney: former U.S. District Court Chief Judge Raymond Dearie, one of four judges who authorized a wiretap on the former Trump campaign aide 2016 Carter Page, and former Florida Assistant Attorney General Paul Huck.

The disagreements between the two sides on the already contentious issue of the special master – the government had previously filed a notice of appeal against the order appointing the arbitrator – outnumbered the points of consensus.

On documents to be reviewed, the Justice Department said the special master should not review documents with classified marks or potentially subject to executive privilege, while the Trump team said all documents should be examined.

“The special master should not examine documents with classification marks; should not adjudicate claims of executive privilege (but should submit to [the National Archives] all documents upon which such claims are made),” the Justice Department said.

On the access each party should have to the documents, the Justice Department said it wants to review proposed protective designations before they go to the special master, while Trump said they should stay protected to protect the process.

The Justice Department then said it wanted to see the categorizations of Trump’s lawyers before the documents were sent to the special master – to buy time if they agreed – but Trump’s lawyers said that the special master should simply examine all the documents seized.

Additionally, while Trump suggested that the costs of the special master should be apportioned equally, the Justice Department argued that “as the party requesting the special master, the plaintiff should bear the additional expenses of the special master’s work. “.

Ultimately, the final appointment of the independent arbitrator rests with Cannon, the judge handling the case who ordered both sides to produce a list of qualified nominees by midnight Friday. Cannon will also define the scope of the review.

The government, seeking a quick resolution to the review that has delayed its investigation into Trump’s unauthorized withholding of government secrets, has proposed an Oct. 17 deadline to complete the review. Trump has proposed a 90-day window.

The dispute over the scope of the special master’s duties has become a simmering point of tension, with the Justice Department adamantly asserting that documents with classified marks belong to the government and cannot even be subject to executive privilege.

That argument was mirrored in a government stay motion that asked Cannon to rescind an order barring investigators from examining seized documents — and said it would appeal to a higher court if the motion is not successful. not granted.

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