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Special master appeals for help in fight against Trump Mar-a-Lago documents

Orenstein spent 16 years as a federal magistrate in the same Brooklyn courthouse where Dearie sits. Orenstein drew attention several years ago for his role in what has been semi-sarcastically dubbed “the magistrates’ revolt” – the decisions of a handful of federal magistrates across the country questioning the tactics government in warrant applications for electronic data.

In 2016, Orenstein issued a controversial ruling rejecting prosecutors’ arguments that a two-century-old federal law gave the government the right to order Apple to help unlock an iPhone used by a suspected drug trafficker. The judge’s pro-privacy stance in the case may have led the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to name him to a list of court-approved friends who give their views on surveillance requests.

Dearie proposed that the former magistrate, who has top-secret clearance, be paid $500 an hour to work on the Trump documents case. The federal judge who appointed Dearie as special master, Florida-based Aileen Cannon, previously ruled that Trump should bear all expenses related to the exam.

Dearie said in Thursday’s order that he would not be compensated for his work because he is still receiving his salary as a judge, but that expenses such as Orenstein’s fees must be paid in full and on time, or else Trump could face legal sanctions.

While the seven-page proposal the special master released on Thursday bears Dearie’s name and a form of electronic signature, metadata attached to the document indicates that Orenstein – who retired from court in 2020 – was involved in its writing. Dearie Chambers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Orenstein helped prepare the proposal to implicate him in the case.

Dearie’s plan, still subject to comment from the parties, gives Trump a Sept. 30 deadline to indicate whether he challenges the FBI’s list of what was seized in the search. Last month, Trump suggested such tampering was a possibility given the FBI’s refusal to allow a Trump attorney to attend the search.

“The FBI and other members of the federal government would not allow anyone, including my attorneys, near the areas that were searched and otherwise examined during the raid on Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote on his site. of social media Truth. month. “Everyone was asked to leave, they wanted to be left alone, with no witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or hopefully not ‘planting’.”

Trump has provided no evidence of such tampering by the FBI, but Dearie’s plan says that if Trump’s team wants to press such a claim, someone will have to submit a statement under penalty of perjury detailing the patterns.

The proposed plan calls for the review of more than 11,000 documents seized at Mar-a-Lago in four batches. The first concerns a small set of information that the Department of Justice has already flagged as potentially subject to solicitor-client privilege. Trump’s team has weekly deadlines that extend through October 14 to identify allegedly privileged documents and explain why. Prosecutors have parallel deadlines until October 21, with Dearie expected to submit her recommendations to Cannon by October 31.

From now on, about 100 documents with various national security classification marks that were seized during the search will not be part of the special master process. Cannon decided they should be and denied a request from prosecutors to remove those records.

But on Wednesday night, a federal appeals court sided with the Justice Department, ruling that the government’s broad authority over classified information erred Cannon, a Trump appointee, to include the alleged secrets under wider scrutiny and for her to put them off limits to criminal investigators in the meantime.

Trump’s attorneys have yet to say whether they plan to ask the Supreme Court to step in and restore Cannon’s original order.

It didn’t take long for the 11th United States Circuit Court of Appeals to rule against Trump and help bring about a legal loss for one of his allies: MyPillow founder Mike Lindell.

Last week, the FBI used a search warrant to seize Lindell’s cellphone as he waited at a Hardee drive-thru in Mankato, Minnesota. Lindell filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Minnesota, seeking a temporary restraining order requiring the government to discontinue its phone and ultimately return it.

However, a judge threw out the restraining order on Thursday, citing, among other things, the 11th Circuit’s ruling against Trump a day earlier.

Trump-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Eric Tostrud said Lindell’s right to get her phone back “isn’t obvious, and that’s an understatement.” The judge’s order did not rule out the possibility that Lindell may be entitled to his phone back after both sides had a chance to develop their legal arguments in court filings.

Lindell’s phone appears to have been seized as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged voting machine tampering in Colorado last year.

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