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Trump and Justice Department submit special master nominees to review Mar-a-Lago documents


By Marshall Cohen

The Justice Department and former President Donald Trump’s lawyers have submitted their proposals to a federal judge for who should serve as special master to review materials seized from Mar-a-Lago and how the process should work.

Friday night’s court filing is the latest legal turn in the Justice Department’s historic criminal investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of documents as his term ended in January 2021. The FBI executed a search warrant last month at the former president’s Florida home and resort, seizing 11,000 documents, including more than 100 classified government records.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon earlier this week granted Trump’s request for a special master — a third-party attorney outside of the government — and ordered criminal investigators at the Justice Department to stop using the seized materials as part of their ongoing probe until the special master finishes their review.

The Justice Department nominated two retired federal judges — Thomas Griffith and Barbara Jones — to serve as special master.

Griffith, a Bush appointee, served on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals from 2005 to 2020. In one of his final major rulings before retiring, he wrote the majority opinion rejecting House Democrats’ attempt to subpoena Trump’s former White House Counsel Don McGahn. (The decision was later overturned.)

Griffith later co-authored a report alongside other prominent conservative lawyers and officials debunking Trump’s lies about massive fraud in the 2020 election. And he publicly endorsed President Joe Biden’s nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court.

Jones, a Bill Clinton appointee to the federal bench, is a former federal prosecutor and a retired judge from the Southern District of New York from 1995 to 2012.

She was tapped to serve as a special master to examine materials seized during an FBI raid of Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in April 2021. She was also a special master in the Michael Cohen case, to make sure investigators didn’t sweep up any documents that were attorney-client privileged. Both Giuliani and Cohen were Trump’s lawyers while they were investigated by the Justice Department.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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