Independent expert will review the documents of the Mar-a-Lago registry


() — A Brooklyn-based federal judge was selected Thursday to serve as an independent expert to review materials seized from the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

The independent expert will be the main judge Raymond Dearie, who was presented as a possible candidate for the role of independent expert by Trump, who had sued in court to obtain the review. The Justice Department also backed Dearie’s appointment.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon also rejected the Justice Department’s offer to resume its criminal investigation into classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago last month. The denial sets the stage for the department’s dispute with Trump over the record to quickly move to an appeals court and possibly the US Supreme Court.

An intelligence community review of the documents has been stalled since last week when Cannon ordered the criminal investigation to halt for the time being. DOJ says the two reviews cannot be separated and plans to appeal.

Cannon gave the independent expert a November 30 deadline to finish his review of potentially privileged documents. The timeline states that the review ends after the midterm legislative elections, essentially guaranteeing that the Mar-a-Lago investigation will proceed slowly for the next two months, unless a higher court intervenes.

Independent expert will review material seized in Mar-a-Lago 1:44

Appointed by Reagan, Dearie takes center stage

Dearie sits in the district court for the Eastern District of Brooklyn, where she has assumed senior status, meaning her workload has lightened significantly as the end of her time in federal court nears.

He was appointed a judge by Ronald Reagan in 1986 and was for a time the chief judge of the Brooklyn-based district court. He also served a seven-year term, ending in 2019, on the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

In his role as a FISA judge, Dearie was one of the judges who approved one of the Justice Department’s requests to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page as part of the federal investigation into interference in Russian elections 2016.

The department’s process to secure FISA warrants for Page was riddled with errors and oversights, a review by the Justice Department’s inspector general later found. The review noted omissions and errors in FBI court documents supporting FISA applications, including documents submitted to Dearie.

Trump has been critical of how the FISA warrants were obtained against Page, so his recommendation of Dearie to revisit the search for Mar-a-Lago is noteworthy. Legal observers from across the ideological spectrum, including Trump’s vocal critics, also backed the pick.

More than 100 documents marked as classified

Trump filed the lawsuit seeking the independent expert two weeks after the Justice Department ran a search of his Florida residence. Prosecutors are investigating at least three federal crimes: violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and criminal tampering with government records.

During the search, according to court documents, investigators seized more than 100 documents marked classified, which were obtained after Trump’s representatives received a subpoena in May demanding they return all those documents to the government. When the FBI traveled to Mar-a-Lago in June to collect the documents, one of his attorneys signed a certification stating that the subpoena had been served.

Trump, in his filings in the special main case, argued that his constitutional rights had been trampled by the August 8 search, though Cannon herself had previously said she disagreed that the judicially authorized search amounted to “disregard insensitive” of the former president’s rights.

In accordance with his September 5 order that initially granted Trump’s request for an independent expert review, Cannon decided that there was a need to bolster public confidence in the search and because Trump, as a former president, faced higher risks of reputational damage if an accusation was unfairly brought against him.

Trump claimed on the Hugh Hewitt radio show Thursday that he declassified government records that were taken to Mar-a-Lago, but that’s not an argument he’s made in any legal setting.

Cannon’s order on Thursday also raised questions that all documents with classification marks were actually classified.

“The Court does not find it appropriate to accept the Government’s findings on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expeditious and orderly manner,” he said, referring to Justice Department claims that the documents allegedly they are classified and that Trump could not have any possessory interest in any of them.

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Written by Editor TLN

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