Home / GENERAL NEWS / ‘Special Master’ Appointed to Review Docs Taken During FBI’s Search of Mar-a-Lago

‘Special Master’ Appointed to Review Docs Taken During FBI’s Search of Mar-a-Lago

Honorable Raymond J. Dearie has been appointed as the “Special Master” who will review documents the FBI took when agents searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last month

'Special Master' Appointed to Review Docs Taken During FBI's Search of Mar-a-Lago 1

A Florida court has appointed a “Special Master” to review documents taken when the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

In court documents seen by PEOPLE, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida’s West Palm Beach Division appointed Honorable Raymond J. Dearie on Thursday as the Special Master in Trump’s case.

Per the court, Dearie will “review all of the materials seized” during the FBI’s Aug. 8 search. His duties include verifying that documents taken and labeled “Detailed Property Inventory” accurately reflect the “property seized.” He will also do a “privilege review” of the items taken and tell the court if there are any potential “privilege disputes between the parties.”

The government will also provide the Special Master with “the Seized Materials” taken, along with the “redacted public versions,” the doc says.

Trump will be responsible for paying for the Special Master and any related fees.

The former president asked the court to select a Special Master last month.

In papers filed in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Florida, the former president, through his counsel, asked that the government not be allowed to look at the documents until then.

After roughly two dozen FBI agents searched Trump’s home, his lawyers suggested it is a political move against Trump amid his possible bid for president in the upcoming 2024 race.

They accused the government of refusing to “provide even the most basic information about what was taken, or why,” and said that the information they did provide sparks concern over Fourth Amendment rights — which protects citizens from unreasonable searches of their homes, documents, and possessions.

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The filing said that the government told Trump’s lawyers that “privileged and/or potentially privileged documents” were seized, but specifics of what exactly was taken have yet to be provided.

The FBI executed the search amid the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) attempt to recover documents that were potentially at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, which is where he returned after leaving the White House at the end of his presidency, per the filing.

Arguing that the documents seized were created when Trump was president, his lawyers stated that they are ” ‘presumptively privileged’ until proven otherwise,” and a Special Master is the only one who can protect their “sanctity.”

U.S. prosecutors have argued that “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” according to a filing the Justice Department submitted to a federal judge recently.

That filing outlines the government’s previous attempts, over a span of 18 months, to have Trump and his attorneys return documents, including classified material, from Mar-a-Lago.

More than 180 boxes were sent to the National Archives from Mar-a-Lago in January. After the National Archives followed up for more records, Trump’s team handed over 38 documents in June, along with a signed document stating that no other classified documents remained on site.

Despite those assurances, more than 100 additional classified papers were found when the FBI entered the property in August. Trump has said documents stored at Mar-a-Lago had been declassified by him, though it’s unclear if he undertook any formal process to declassify them. The claim has also been refuted by more than a dozen former Trump administration officials.


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