Raymond Dearie, the special master overseeing the documents seized from Donald Trump’s home, says he needs help searching the more than 11,000 records — and this could come at a high financial cost for the former president.
Dearie, a New York-based federal judge, presented his plan for reviewing the documents on Thursday. The plan, signed by Dearie, suggests that he needs help from James Orenstein, a retired magistrate, who will bill Trump a rate of $500 an hour. The potential additional legal costs come after a series of recent court setbacks for Trump.
Dearie, named special master last week, is responsible for sorting out records recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in August that may be protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. Trump’s attorneys successfully attempted the appointment of the special master, proposing Dearie, who has until Nov. 30 to complete his assessment.
Dearie’s plan says Orenstein has “experience with complex case management, assessment of privileges, warrant procedures, and other matters that may arise during the course.” Orenstein, who has top-secret clearance, has also served as an adviser to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the surveillance of foreign spies.
Under the plan, Dearie will begin billing for Orenstein’s work from Oct. 1, which Trump’s lawyers may dispute. Dearie said he will not ask for additional compensation.
“OMG I’m dying!!!” Ron Filipkowski, a Trump critic and former federal prosecutor, responded on Twitter.
Dearie’s plan comes a day after the Justice Department (DOJ) took a notable victory after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned part of a district judge’s order that prevented federal investigators from reviewing classified documents retrieved from Trump’s resort home. in South Florida.
The ruling means the DOJ is not required to submit documents marked as classified to Dearie for review. The three-judge panel, which included two Trump-appointed individuals, also undermined Trump’s insistence on releasing every document he carried when he left the White House.
“[Trump] has not even attempted to demonstrate that he needs the information contained in the classified documents,” the panel wrote in its statement. “Nor has it determined that the current administration has waived that requirement for these documents.”
In a hearing on Tuesday, Dearie reportedly pressured Trump’s legal team to justify the ex-president’s statements that he released the documents, telling them they “can’t get your cake and eat it too.” .
In the document review plan he signed Thursday, Dearie specified that Trump’s legal team must explain why each document seized is protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, as well as each considered personal.
Dearie has also instructed the administration to submit a detailed list of Mar-a-Lago properties and that Trump’s lawyers have a chance to challenge the list’s accuracy by Sept. 30. This gives Trump’s legal team one last chance to back the former president. claim that the FBI planted evidence while searching his home.
“This filing will be the plaintiff’s last chance to address any actual dispute regarding the completeness and accuracy of the detailed property inventory,” Dearie wrote in the plan.
News week has reached out to Trump’s legal team for comment.