WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said in a court filing it would support one of the special master nominees put forward by former President Trump’s legal team to review documents seized during an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.
The Justice Department asked the court to consider appointing its two choices for special master as well as Raymond Dearie, a retired U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of New York who was nominated by former President Reagan.
In its filing, the DOJ cited “previous federal judicial experience and engagement in relevant areas of law” as being “important qualifications for this position.”
The Trump team’s other nominee, Paul Huck Jr., spent his legal career working in both the public sector and the private sector, including serving as deputy attorney general in Florida and as a general counsel to then-Gov. Charlie Crist, who at the time was serving as a Republican.
The DOJ is also asking the court to consider appointing its two nominees, Barbara Jones, a former U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York appointed by former President Clinton, and Thomas Griffith, a former federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia who currently works at a law firm.
The Justice Department said in its filing it opposed Huck’s nomination because he did not have relevant experience.
“Judges Jones, Griffith and Dearie each have substantial judicial experience, during which they have presided over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns. The government respectfully opposes the appointment of Paul Huck Jr., who does not appear to have similar experience,” the department wrote.
A federal judge in Florida on Labor Day granted Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review documents seized at Mar-a-Lago last month, dismissing objections by the DOJ and blocking further review and use of the documents in its investigation of potential mishandling of classified information after Trump left the White House.
A partially redacted search warrant revealed that federal law enforcement suspected Trump violated the Espionage Act and other laws when it sought to search his Florida property, where authorities obtained 11 different sets of classified documents, including some marked top secret.