Judge Rejects Special Master’s Request on Seized Documents
U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order extending the timeline of an outside review Trump demanded of the documents and other materials the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach on Aug. 8 as part of an investigation into alleged unlawful retention of classified materials and other government records as well as obstruction of justice. She also overruled some of the procedures proposed by the independent reviewer, senior U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Dearie, whom she appointed to the role at Trump’s request.
Cannon, a Trump appointee based in Fort Pierce, Fla., essentially adopted a slower timeline proposed by Trump’s attorney for the document review to be conducted by Dearie, who is based in Brooklyn. Under Cannon’s new order, the review and her handling of any objections to Dearie’s rulings will almost certainly stretch into the new year.
In addition, Cannon rejected Dearie’s plan to require Trump to say at the outset of the review whether he believes the FBI’s inventory of seized materials is faulty, either by omitting items that were seized, including items that were not seized or both. Trump has repeatedly suggested, without offering evidence, that the FBI planted evidence at his home during the court-ordered search.
The volume of materials involved in the review remains murky. Cannon earlier referenced about 11,000 documents, but Trump’s lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday that during a discussion about digitizing and organizing the documents prosecutors said that up to 200,000 pages of materials may be involved.
The bottom line: Cannon’s most recent ruling effectively overrules Dearie’s challenge for Trump to “put up or shut up” regarding some of the public statements he’s made.
“She is such a disgrace” – Andrew Weissmann