The legal team of former President Donald Trump and the Justice Department submitted their picks on Friday for a special master, who will review the documents seized in the August Mar-a-Lago search.
According to a court filing released Friday, each team put forth two candidates for special master. The DOJ proposed Barbara S. Jones—a retired judge who served as special master in an investigation of former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani—and Thomas B. Griffith—a retired appeals judge for the District of Columbia Circuit and former chief legal officer of the Senate.
Trump’s team proposed Raymond J. Dearie—the former chief judge of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York and a former judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—and Paul Huck Jr.—the former deputy attorney general for the state of Florida and former general counsel to Florida’s governor.
According to the filing, both sides will provide their stances on the other party’s suggested candidates to the court on Monday, September 12.
Legal experts have been giving their takes on the proposed candidates. Andrew Weissmann, a lead prosecutor in the Muller investigation, wrote on Twitter that he thought Judge Dearie, one of Trump’s candidates, would be a great pick for both sides: “DOJ [would] be wise to agree to Judge Dearie on the Trump list—and I bet DOJ will. He is a beloved judge in the EDNY—absolute integrity and fairness.”
Harry Litman, former deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ, tweeted that all of the proposed candidates were “respectable,” but said that Huck, Trump’s pick, has a “recusal issue.”
The filing also details the disagreements between the DOJ and Trump’s lawyers. The Justice Department doesn’t want the special master to review classified documents, whereas Trump’s team wants such material to be included. Trump’s camp also hopes the special master will consider executive privilege during the review.
The matter of which side will pay for the special master has also not been settled. Since Trump requested the special master, the government says his team should pay; Trump’s lawyers want to evenly split the compensation.
The timeline for the review process is also uncertain. The former president’s team suggested that the special master should have 90 days to examine the material; the DOJ asked for a deadline of October 17.
The former president’s request for a special master was granted on Monday by Judge Aileen Cannon, who Trump appointed in 2020, after a lengthy back-and-forth. While Judge Cannon blocked the Justice Department from continuing its investigation into the documents seized on August 8 until the special master completes their review, she is allowing the Office of the Director of Intelligence to continue its examination of the classified material.