- Judge Raymond Dearie calls for help to go through the documents seized by the FBI.
- He appointed a retired judge, James Orenstein, to help him – at a cost of $500 an hour.
- This bill will be paid by Trump, who has been asked to pay the special master he has requested.
District Court Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master appointed as a neutral investigator to review records seized during the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, calls for backup.
In a filing dated Thursday, Dearie wrote that he would not seek additional compensation for serving as special counsel in the Trump case. However, he asked to be allowed to hire an assistant – James Orenstein, a former magistrate judge in New York – to help assess the 11,000 records that the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago.
Dearie has until November 30 to complete the review of the documents.
During its raid on Mar-a-Lago, the FBI seized batches of classified documents, some of which were marked “top secret”. The Justice Department is investigating whether Trump violated any of three federal laws — including the Espionage Act — by keeping the documents at his Florida residence.
In the filing, Dearie requested that Orenstein, who is retired, be “compensated at the hourly rate of $500.”
Dearie, 78, is a former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. At Trump’s request, he was named a neutral third-party investigator amid the former president’s legal battle with the FBI over seized documents. Trump foots the bill for the special master’s appointment fee.
According to Dearie’s filing on Thursday, expenses incurred to hire Orenstein will be billed to Trump each month, beginning Oct. 1. In addition, the former president will receive an overview of “hours worked and expenses to be reimbursed”.
Trump’s team will then have seven days to dispute the amount and an additional seven days after resolving potential disputes to pay the full fee.
“Failure to pay on time will be considered a violation of the Special Master’s Order under penalty of punishment under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure,” the filing reads.
Trump’s team has been falling out with Dearie ever since the latter was named Special Petty Officer.
This week, the former president’s legal team asked Dearie to avoid disclosing information about whether the documents found at Mar-a-Lago had been declassified, arguing that it would compromise any defense of Trump. against subsequent indictments.
On Wednesday, Trump also made a baseless claim that he could have declassified top secret documents just by thinking about it.
Meanwhile, Dearie also asked Trump’s team to prove the former president’s claim that the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago.