The special master sets a tight schedule to review Trump’s records

The special master chosen to review more than 11,000 documents removed by the FBI from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last month laid out his plan of action, with a tight schedule and plans to wrap up the review. of records at the end of October.

On Wednesday, a three-judge jury of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit suspended the lower court’s decision to ask Special Master Raymond Dearie to evaluate about 100 confidential records, which prevented the Department of Justice to use the records as part of their criminal investigations while the review was taking place.

With that fixed, Dearie, the former Chief Justice of the Brooklyn Federal Court, has set a dizzying schedule to review and separate all documents taken by the FBI during the court-approved search on August 8 at Trump’s Palm Beach home. , in Florida. which may be covered by claims for attorney-client privilege or executive privilege and to determine whether any of the materials should be returned to Trump. Once the review is complete, Dearie will produce a report on his recommendations to US District Judge Aileen Cannon.

Dearie’s filing says he enlisted the help of former U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York James Orenstein, at a proposed hourly rate of $ 500. Cannon has already ruled that Trump is responsible for the costs of the review. of the special master.

Dearie said he will not seek compensation because he is still on the bench, but will instruct staff from the Eastern District to help get rid of the documents. The next state conference is scheduled for October. 6 by phone.

The Department of Justice must produce an affidavit by Monday stating the accuracy of the inventory that the department has released with details of the items removed from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump has until September 30 to file an affidavit opposing the inventory, including listing any items that have been taken that don’t appear on the list, or items the list says have been removed. that disputes were in his property. Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed that the FBI planted evidence while searching for him, although his lawyers did not take that case to court.

“This request will be the plaintiff’s last opportunity to raise any factual dispute regarding the completeness and accuracy of the detailed property inventory,” said Dearie.

Dearie also instructed the government and Trump’s legal team to agree by Friday a third-party vendor to digitize the records and determined that the vendor will have three days to make the records electronically available so that the review can begin.

Trump’s legal team has also been tasked with providing any claims it will make about each record in these categories: attorney-client communication privilege; privilege of the lawyer’s labor product; executive privilege prohibiting document review within the executive branch; executive privilege that prohibits the disclosure of the document to persons or entities outside the executive branch; if the document is a presidential record under the Presidential Records Act of 1978; and if the document is a personal record within the meaning of that act.

For any document that Trump designates as privileged or personal, it must include a brief statement explaining the basis for the designation.

Dearie has instructed Trump’s team to provide periodic updates on Trump’s claims and make a final decision on what the former president wants to claim regarding all 11,000 records by October. 14

The Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers must also try to resolve as many disputes over the documents as possible, though Dearine noted that she will step in to resolve disputes throughout the trial. Trump’s department and lawyers are required to submit a final litigation register by October. 21

Trump’s legal team received documents that the FBI filtering team identified as subject to the attorney-client privilege on Sept. 16, and Dearie’s filing told the former president’s legal team to begin by examining those documents and claiming. any claim of attorney-client privilege.

Dearie said that once the district court has reviewed his work, it will consider any motion Trump presents for the restitution of the property. The filing also instructs Trump to address in that potential motion whether Cannon or the DC Circuit Judge who issued the search warrant is the appropriate place to resolve that request.