In the continuing investigation into documents taken by the FBI from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, a special master has been agreed upon.
CNN reports that Senior Judge Raymond Dearie will be the special master in this case, acting as an independent party to review the materials in question. The Trump team suggested him as a candidate, “a veteran federal judge with long experience handling sensitive matters, including terrorism and other national security cases,” and the Justice Department agreed to the selection, per The Guardian.
Who is Judge Raymond Dearie?
Dearie was nominated by Ronald Reagan to the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York on Feb. 3, 1986. He served as chief judge in that district from 2007 to 2011, when he assumed senior status.
Notably, he served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court from 2012 to 2019, working with protected classified national security information to review government applications in the “use of electronic surveillance, physical search and other investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes” according to the court.
Dearie was one of the judges who signed off on warrants the FBI used to surveil Carter Page in the Russian election interference investigation, per Politico. Page was an aide to Trump during the 2016 campaign.
The Justice Department later released a report that “three Carter Page renewal applications were inaccurate, incomplete or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information in the FBl’s possession at the time the applications were filed.“ Dearie signed one the orders.
According to CNN, “The DOJ’s watchdog said there was no bias in the decision to seek FISA surveillance of Page,” and the errors were “generally mistakes and not intentional manipulation.”
Trump has decried the methods in which the warrants against Page were obtained, which makes his recommendation of Dearie notable, per CNN.
Andrew Weissmann, a federal prosecutor and former senior member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, told NPR “If you asked both prosecutors and lawyers, they would say the same thing, that he is just so fair. It’s unusual to have a judge where both sides just have enormous praise for somebody.”
Paul Bergman, a former federal prosecutor and a friend of Dearie’s, said he is “a perfect choice for this kind of thing, in terms of his rock-bottom judicial integrity,” telling The Washington Post “I don’t know that there’s anybody, frankly, out there better qualified to do this than him.”
Patrick Cotter, a federal prosecutor serving in Brooklyn, said of his experience with Dearie, “He was a very matter-of-fact, down-to-earth judge with a minimum of pomposity. He will do a credible job, and will do it quickly,” per The Washington Post.
According to CNN, “legal observes across the ideological spectrum,” have supported the choice.
What to watch
Dearie and his team will now sort through approximately 11,000 records confiscated by the FBI, per The New York Times.
The BBC reports the review must be completed and findings presented by November.