Special Master is Selected for Mar-a-Lago Documents as DOJ Issues Jan. 6 Subpoenas
A special master is appointed in the Mar-a-Lago search and seizure case while at least 40 subpoenas are issued by the Justice Department's ongoing investigation into January 6.
On Thursday, federal district judge Aileen Cannon denied the Justice Department’s motion to access the classified records stored at Mar-a-Lago and installed a recently retired judge to serve as the special master that former President Trump requested, writes the Hill.
"If the court were willing to accept the government’s representations that select portions of the seized materials are—without exception—government property not subject to any privileges, and did not think a special master would serve a meaningful purpose, the court would have denied plaintiff’s special master request," Cannon wrote.
Excerpt from the Hill: The duo of orders will ignite a Department of Justice (DOJ) appeal to the 11th Circuit and also selects Judge Raymond Dearie to serve as the special master — the one candidate both the DOJ and Trump’s legal team could agree on. The order requires Dearie to complete his review by Nov. 30 — a slightly shorter deadline than the 90-day window Trump requested, but one that punts the determination past the midterms. In a rare instance of siding with the DOJ, Cannon required Trump to pay for the full cost associated with a special master. Cannon’s decision came after the DOJ asked for a partial stay of the judge’s motion, arguing they should be able to review the more than 100 classified documents taken during the search as Trump could have no possible claim to the records as either personal property or under executive privilege.
Dearie, 78, a former chief judge of the federal court in the Eastern District of New York, was one of the special master candidates suggested by Trump whom the Justice Department did not object, writes NPR.
Excerpt from NPR: Republican President Ronald Reagan appointed Dearie, then 41, to serve as a federal judge in New York in 1986, and he assumed senior status in 2011. Justice Department lawyers have said that Dearie has "substantial judicial experience" and is thus qualified for the special master job. Dearie earned his law degree from St. John's University School of Law in 1969 and then eventually served as an attorney for the Eastern District of New York before Reagan tapped him to serve as a judge. He went on to serve as chief judge from 2007 to 2011. Andrew Weissmann, a federal prosecutor, former senior member of special counsel Robert Mueller's team, and a special master himself, described Dearie as "compassionate" and "fair" and the "platonic ideal of what you want in a judge."
In another investigation involving the former president, dozens of subpoenas issued last week show that the Justice Department is seeking vast amounts of information, and communications with more than 100 people, as part of its sprawling inquiry into the origins, fundraising and motives of the effort to block Joe Biden from being certified as president in early 2021, according to the Washington Post.
Excerpt from the Washington Post: The subpoenas, three of which were reviewed by The Washington Post, are far-reaching, covering 18 separate categories of information, including any communications the recipients had with scores of people in six states where supporters of then-President Donald Trump sought to promote "alternate" electors to replace electors in those states won by Biden. One request is for any communications "to, from, or including" specific people tied to such efforts in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Most of the names listed were proposed fake electors in those states, while a small number were Trump campaign officials who organized the slates. Taken together, the subpoenas show an investigation that began immediately after the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and has cast an ever-widening net, even as it gathers information about those in the former president’s inner circle.
According to the New York Times, Justice Department officials have seized the phones of two top advisers to former President Donald J. Trump and blanketed his aides with about 40 subpoenas in a substantial escalation of the investigation into his efforts to subvert the 2020 election.
Excerpt from the New York Times: The seizure of the phones, coupled with a widening effort to obtain information from those around Mr. Trump after the 2020 election, represent some of the most aggressive steps the department has taken thus far in its criminal investigation into the actions that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The extent of the investigation has come into focus in recent days, even though it has often been overshadowed by the government’s legal clash with Mr. Trump and his lawyers over a separate inquiry into the handling of presidential records, including highly classified materials, the former president kept at his residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago. The names of those receiving the latest round of subpoenas in the investigation related to Jan. 6 have dribbled out gradually, with investigators casting a wide net on a range of issues, including Mr. Trump’s postelection fund-raising and the so-called fake electors scheme.