A Brooklyn-based federal judge was selected Thursday to serve as an independent arbitrator to review items seized in the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.
The Special Master will be the Senior Judge Raymond Deary, who was floated by Trump as a possible candidate for the special master role, sued the court to seek a review. The Judiciary also approved Deary’s appointment.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon also rejected the Justice Department’s bid to reopen a criminal investigation into classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago last month. The denial sets the stage for the department’s dispute with Trump in its quest to quickly move to an appeals court and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court.
Cannon gave the special master a Nov. 30 deadline to review the privileged documents. The review’s schedule for completion after the midterm congressional elections guarantees the Mar-a-Lago trial will move slowly for the next two months, unless the high court steps in.
Deary sits on the District Court for the Eastern District of Brooklyn, where he has seniority status — meaning his workload has been significantly reduced as he approaches his time on the federal bench.
He was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1986 and served as presiding judge of the Brooklyn-based district court. He served seven years, ending in 2019 on the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
In his role as a FISA judge, Deary was one of the judges to approve one of the Justice Department’s requests to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page as part of the federal investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling.
The department’s process for securing FISA warrants for Page was riddled with errors and laxity, a DOJ inspector general review later found. The IG’s review pointed to flaws and inaccuracies in the FBI’s court filings supporting the FISA applications.
Trump has railed against how the FISA warrants against Page were obtained, and Dearie has made his recommendation to review the Mar-a-Lago search. Legal observers across the ideological spectrum, including Trump critics, supported the choice.
Trump filed the suit seeking a special master two weeks after the Department of Justice raided his Florida home and resort. Prosecutors are investigating at least three potential crimes: violations of the Espionage Act, illegal manipulation of government records and obstruction of justice.
During the search, according to court filings, investigators seized more than 100 documents marked classified, which were obtained after Trump’s representatives were subpoenaed in May to request the return of all documents to the government. When the FBI went to Mar-a-Lago in June to collect the documents, one of his lawyers signed an affidavit confirming that the subpoena had been served.
Trump argued in a special master’s filing that the Aug. 8 search trampled on the teenager’s constitutional rights, but Cannon had previously said the judicially-authorized search was “grossly negligent.” Rights of the former President.
In her Sept. 5 order, which initially granted Trump’s request for a special primary review, Cannon concluded that it was necessary to bolster public confidence in the search because Trump, as a former president, Faced with reputational risks If a charge is falsely brought against him.
Trump said On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Thursday he declassified the government records he took to Mar-a-Lago, but that wasn’t an argument he made in any legal setting.
This story has been updated with additional details.