Sept. 15 (UPI) — A federal judge on Thursday appointed Raymond Dearie, one of Donald Trump‘s picks for special master, to review the trove of documents seized from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida last month.
U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who herself was nominated by Trump to the federal bench, also rejected a request from the Justice Department to lift an injunction preventing investigators from resuming their investigation of Trump’s handling of the documents until the review is concluded.
Cannon’s decision to reject lifting the injunction about 100 documents marked as classified, which the Justice Department had asked to be exempt from the special master review, but she said she would direct Dearie to prioritize the classified documents.
The Justice Department had argued that Trump could not have an interest in possessing the 100 records because they were classified and that Trump has no claim of privilege to any of the documents, which are the property of the federal government.
“The court does not find it appropriate to accept the government’s conclusions on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expedited and orderly fashion,” Cannon wrote.
Cannon said that some of the documents seized “undisputedly constitute personal property and privileged materials,” which had bearing on her decision.
The judge allowed the government to continue using the documents for a national-security risk assessment and classification review of the files but said the government was unlikely to “suffer an irreparable injury” if its criminal investigation does not happen concurrently with such assessments.
“Lastly, the court agrees with the government that ‘the public is best served by evenhanded adherence to established principles of civil and criminal procedure,’ regardless of the personal identity of the parties involved,” Cannon wrote.
“It is also true, of course, that evenhanded procedure does not demand unquestioning trust in the determinations of the Department of Justice.”
Dearie, 78, was first appointed by former President Ronald Reagan to serve as a federal judge and has held the post of chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.