The Justice Department said it was open to a judge appointing one of the nominees that former President Donald Trump’s legal team has proposed as a special master to review documents seized at Mar-a- Lago, according to a filing in court Monday evening.
The DOJ has declared senior judge Raymond Dearie acceptable, along with his two previously proposed selections: retired federal judges Barbara Jones and Thomas Griffith.
“Each has substantial judicial experience, including presiding over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving issues of national security and privilege,” prosecutors wrote.
Dearie, originally a candidate for former President Ronald Reagan, has served as a federal judge in New York since the 1980s. He retired in 2011 and is now a senior circuit judge.
Dearie also served a seven-year term on the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court. He was one of the judges who approved a request from the FBI and the DOJ to monitor Carter pageforeign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, as part of the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
It’s unclear when U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will decide who the special master is.
Last week, Cannon granted Trump’s request for a third-party lawyer outside the government to review the seized documents and asked each side to submit proposed candidates. Cannon also ordered Justice Department criminal investigators to stop using the seized documents in their ongoing investigation until the special master completes his review.
“The plaintiff opposes the candidates proposed by the Ministry of Justice. Plaintiff believes there are specific reasons why these nominees are not preferred for service as Special Counsel in this case,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.
The Justice Department appointed Griffith, who served as a judge on the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, from 2005 to 2020, and Jones, a former federal prosecutor who has been a special master in several recent high-profile investigations .
The Trump team also suggested attorney Paul Huck Jr., a former partner at the Jones Day law firm. The Justice Department took issue with Huck Jr., noting that he “doesn’t appear to have a similar experience” to the three justices.
Trump’s lawyers argued Monday that the court did not ask for detailed reasoning and that they were trying to be “more respectful to candidates from either party.”
“Plaintiff also argues that it is more respectful to candidates of either party to conceal opposition bases from the public, and is likely to be widely publicized, arguing,” wrote Trump’s lawyers. “Therefore, Plaintiff asks the Court for leave to specifically express our objections to the Government Nominees only at the time the Court clarifies a desire to obtain and consider such information.”
Trump and the Justice Department also disagree on other key aspects of the special master’s responsibilities, including the length of the review, who is responsible for paying the special master, and the type of documents subject to review.
In a nod to the government’s hope for a speedy review of the thousands of documents seized by the FBI, the Justice Department wrote that “in selecting among the three candidates, the government respectfully requests the Court to review and select the best candidate to respond in a timely manner. exercise the responsibilities assigned to the special master.
This story has been updated with additional details.