On Thursday, CNN reported that Aileen Cannon, the federal judge who blocked the Justice Department's investigation of classified documents hoarded at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago country club, has appointed retired Senior Judge Raymond Dearie as a special master to review the documents for privilege.
This comes after reports that the Justice Department signaled that they were supportive of Dearie, who had initially been suggested as a special master candidate by Trump's legal team.
Cannon also denied the Justice Department's request for a partial stay of her ruling that blocked access to certain documents, leaving large parts of the investigation in limbo until Dearie can complete his investigation.
While the decision to appoint a special master in the first place, and to block the investigation pending that review, is widely considered controversial by legal experts, Dearie is a widely respected judge with a long history on the bench, The Independent noted.
"During his time as a Brooklyn attorney in the 1980s, the office’s workload was overshadowed by the pursuit of mobsters, gang leaders and financial fraudsters," reported Shweta Sharma. "He later went on to become one of the most distinguished and respected jurists in the Eastern District of New York. He also served a seven-year term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court, which oversees sensitive national security cases."
"Now 78, Mr Dearie serves as a judge in Brooklyn federal court with senior status," said the report. "He was one of the judges who approved an FBI and DoJ request to investigate Carter Page, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, for a federal probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections."