DOJ to Appeals Court: Probe Delay May Cause 'Irreparable Harm'

Agency asks court to block judge's ruling keeping it from classified records seized at Mar-a-Lago
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 16, 2022 12:14 AM CDT
Updated Sep 17, 2022 6:30 AM CDT
The 'Special Master' Has Been Named by Judge in Trump Case
FILE - An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 31, 2022.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Update: As anticipated, the Justice Department on Friday put in a request with a federal appeals court to temporarily put on hold a Trump-appointed judge's order that's keeping it from reviewing hundreds of pages of classified materials seized during the August raid of the former president's estate in Mar-a-Lago. Per NBC News, the motion filed with the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the recent "unprecedented" move by US District Judge Aileen Cannon to block its criminal probe into Trump's handling and retention of the documents would cause "irreparable harm" to both the government and the public, as possible national-security risks need to be assessed. The DOJ is also asking that Raymond Dearie, the new special master appointed by Cannon to review the Mar-a-Lago records, be blocked from seeing any that have been deemed classified. Our original story from Thursday follows:

A federal judge on Thursday appointed a veteran New York jurist to serve as an independent arbiter and review records seized during an FBI search of former President Trump's Florida home last month. In her order, US District Judge Aileen Cannon refused a Justice Department request to lift her temporary prohibition on the department's use of the roughly 100 classified records that were taken during the Aug. 8 search. She also granted the newly named special master, Raymond Dearie, access to the entire tranche of documents seized from the property, even though the department had said the arbiter shouldn't be permitted to inspect the batch of classified records, the AP reports.

The Justice Department is expected to contest the judge's order to a federal appeals court. It had given Cannon until Thursday to put on hold her order barring the continued review of classified records, and said it would ask the Atlanta-based 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene if she didn't do so then. A Justice Department spokesman didn't immediately return a message Thursday evening. The selection of Dearie, a former federal prosecutor who for years served as the chief judge of the federal court based in Brooklyn, came after both the Justice Department and Trump's lawyers made clear that they'd be satisfied with his appointment as a so-called special master.

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In that role, Dearie will be responsible for reviewing the documents taken during the search of Mar-a-Lago and segregating out any that may be covered by claims of privilege. It's not clear how long the work will take, but the special master process has already delayed the investigation, with Cannon directing the Justice Department to temporarily pause core aspects of its probe. Dearie served as the top federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York from 1982 to 1986, at which point he was appointed to the federal bench by then-President Ronald Reagan. He has also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorizes Justice Department wiretap applications in investigations involving suspected agents of a foreign power.

(More Donald Trump stories.)

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