Trump’s Special Master – Trains to Run on Time


DALLAS, TEXAS – AUGUST 06: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Hilton Anatole on August 06, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a conference that brings together and hosts conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders in discussing current events and future political agendas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Special Master Raymond J. Dearie, appointed to oversee the document review regarding the recent raid on Mar-a-Lago, has filed a case management plan. It is aptly named. The blueprint lays out in exacting detail what is expected from each party – President Biden’s DOJ prosecutors and Donald Trump, along with his lawyers – and when. The government will have to account for each item taken from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence during the August 8 raid, and Mr. Trump will have to detail to the court any assertion of privilege.

(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Verification of Inventory

First discussed in Dearie’s plan is an accounting of the raid’s proceeds. The government is to certify the earlier reported receipt of goods it claims were taken from Mar-a-Lago. Trump then has four days to challenge what the government has stated on the receipt. Dearie gives the former president three choices as a basis for a challenge. One is that the item was not, in fact, seized on August 8. Another is that the description of the contents or the location where the government indicated an item was found is incorrect. And third, there was something seized but not listed by the government on the Detailed Property Inventory. Then the government has two weeks after any challenge to submit sworn statements by knowledgeable parties responding to any disputed points.

All that is relatively minor compared to the second part of the case management plan, the review of seized materials. The government and Mr. Trump’s legal team are ordered to detail any potential privilege claim concerning each document. The government will indicate whether its privilege review team has designated the document as potentially privileged and, if so, the nature of the privilege. For each document he claims is subject to some privilege, Mr. Trump’s team is to indicate it belongs to one or more of these six claims:

  1. Attorney-client communication privilege;
  2. Attorney work product privilege;
  3. Executive privilege that prohibits review of the document within the executive branch;
  4. Executive privilege that prohibits dissemination of the document to persons or entities outside the executive branch;
  5. The document is a Presidential Record within the meaning of the Presidential Records Act of 1978; and/or
  6. The document is a personal record within the meaning of the PRA.

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Both sides are ordered to meet and attempt to resolve any disagreements regarding the privilege designations for each document. This is to occur on an ongoing basis and be completed by October 21, when they will submit a file and complete a log of remaining disputed designations with each party’s position on each disputed designation.

Finally, the special master ordered himself an assistant in the form of a magistrate judge out of New York to help with the burden of all that’s to come. Dearie is also a United States District Court judge. He has Senior Status and was appointed to the court by Ronald Reagan.

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