On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon overruled Special Master Raymond Dearie’s order requiring former President Trump to provide any “final” objections or disputes regarding the items seized by the FBI during its unprecedented raid on Mar-a-Lago last month.
Last week, Dearie requested that the Trump team provide a declaration of affidavit by Sept. 30 that includes a list of any specific items in the property inventory that they claim were not seized from the premises; a list of items that were seized but the description of the contents or location of the item was incorrect; and a list and description of any item that Trump’s legal team claims was seized but is not listed in the property receipt.
In the filing last week, Dearie wrote, “This submission shall be plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed property inventory.”
Cannon, who appointed Dearie as special master, reviewed his order and stated on Thursday that “at this stage, prior to the review of the Seized Materials, there shall be no separate requirement” for Trump “to lodge ex ante final objections to the accuracy of Defendant’s Inventory, its descriptions, or its contents.”
“The Court’s Appointment Order did not contemplate that obligation,” Cannon wrote. “Defendant has since complied with the requirement to attest to its now-revised inventory; and the parties and the Special Master are situated to proceed with the process pending exchange of the actual materials.”
“Should any additional issues arise during the Special Master’s review process that necessitate reconsideration of the inventory or the need to object to its contents,” she added, “the parties shall make those issues known to the Special Master for appropriate resolution and recommendation to this Court.”
The special master will go over approximately 11,000 records seized by the FBI during its unprecedented raid on Trump’s private residence. The special master and his team will examine the documents for executive privilege, attorney-client privilege, and personal information.
The 11th Circuit Court accepted the Justice Department’s motion last week, allowing the government to continue its review of the approximately 100 classified documents seized during the Aug. 8 raid.
In his filing last week, Dearie stated that he “determined that the efficient administration of the Special Master’s duties necessitates the assistance of the Honorable James Orenstein (Ret.), a former United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, who has experience with complex case management, privilege review, warrant procedures, and other matters that may arise in the course of the Special Master’s duties.”
Orenstein has served as “an appointed amicus curiae in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court” and “currently holds Top Secret clearance,” according to Dearie.
Dearie, who also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), approved a FISA warrant to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page before the FBI’s misconduct with that application was revealed.
The special master stated in his filing on Thursday that he will use the Eastern District of New York court staff to carry out his duties. He also stated that he will “seek no additional compensation for performing the duties of Special Master in this action,” but he proposed that Orenstein be paid “at the hourly rate of $500.”
Cannon stated in her order that neither party objected to Orenstein’s participation and that the court approved it.
Meanwhile, Cannon extends the special master’s deadline to review the documents to December 16 in the filing. The initial deadline was November 30.
Dearie has scheduled a status meeting for October 6.