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Dearie asks Trump’s lawyers if they think the FBI lied about seized documents – The Washington Post

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Mar-a-Lago’s special master on Thursday ordered Donald Trump’s lawyers to state in a court filing whether they believe FBI agents lied about documents seized from the former president’s Florida residence during a court-authorized search last month, or claimed to have taken items. which were not actually in Trump’s possession.

In a Thursday afternoon filing, U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie — the special master — asked Trump’s legal team to state by September 30 whether they believe any of the items seized was incorrectly described in the Justice Department’s 11-page inventory list, which said some of the documents were highly classified.

Dearie also told them to say if they claimed that items on the inventory list had in fact not been removed from the premises.

Trump has said on social media and in television interviews that the FBI planted items during the search of his Mar-a-Lago residence and private club on August 8. He also claimed to have declassified documents found during this search that were marked classified and were highly sensitive. His lawyers, however, did not make similar claims in court, saying they had not reviewed the documents seized and were unable to confirm whether the government inventory list is accurate.

Dearie’s order, in essence, requires Trump’s attorneys to back up their client’s claims. “This submission will be the last opportunity for the claimant to raise any factual disputes as to the completeness and accuracy of the detailed property inventory,” he wrote.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Dearie pressed Trump’s lawyers to take a stand on whether the classified documents were, as Trump said, declassified, but they refused.

The status of the main investigations involving Donald Trump

Dearie’s approach is strikingly different from how Judge Aileen M. Cannon — the Florida-based district court judge who granted Trump’s request to appoint a special master earlier this month — handled his part of the deal.

Cannon never asked Trump’s lawyers to explain why they thought the inventory list might be inaccurate or why they were implying that some of the documents labeled as classified were not actually classified.

In her order, Dearie gave the government — which is investigating the potential mishandling of classified information at Mar-a-Lago — until Monday to submit a statement on whether her inventory list is a full and complete representation. exactly what was entered. The government must also later respond to any factual disputes that Trump’s team raises in its filings.

Cannon appointed Dearie to review the approximately 11,000 documents seized at Mar-a-Lago and determine whether any should be shielded from criminal investigators due to claims of attorney-client privilege or the much more vague and disputed assertion of executive privilege. .

His order barred the Justice Department from accessing classified documents for its criminal investigation until they were reviewed. But the Justice Department successfully appealed that part of the decision; The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled late Wednesday that the classified material should not be part of the special main examination and that the FBI could use it.

Trump’s team could appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation focuses on…everything

Dearie’s Thursday order said Trump’s attorneys and the government should review unclassified documents on an ongoing basis, with Trump’s team reviewing them first and flagging those it deems privileged. The Department of Justice will then note whether they agree with this assertion, and Dearie will settle any disagreements between the two parties.

They must submit all materials to Dearie by Oct. 21 — more than a month before the Thanksgiving deadline Cannon set for the special main review. Trump’s lawyers said during a Tuesday hearing at the Dearie Courthouse in Brooklyn that they believe his proposed schedule would not allow them enough time to thoroughly research all the documents.

Dearie also said in her Thursday order that James Orenstein, a former U.S. magistrate judge from the Eastern District of New York, would assist her with the review. He said Orenstein had served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and held top-secret government clearance, meaning he would theoretically be able to review many of the seized classified documents if necessary.

Read Master Raymond Dearie’s September 22 Special Order

Orenstein is best known for a 2015 case in which he determined prosecutors lacked the legal authority to force Apple to help investigators bypass the passcode feature on a drug dealer’s iPhone. .

Dearie said he plans to use staff from the Eastern District of New York court to help him with his special duties as master.

The Trump team offered Dearie to be the special master — and the government agreed he would be a suitable choice. Cannon then named Dearie, ordering Trump’s legal team to cover the costs.

Since Dearie is still an active federal judge, he said in his Thursday filing, he does not plan to indict Trump for his work in that review. But he proposed that Orenstein be paid $500 an hour.

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