The helper suggested by the special master could cost Trump $500 an hour

Raymond Dearie, the special foreman overseeing the documents seized at Donald Trump’s home, says he will need help to sift through the more than 11,000 records – and that could come at a high financial cost for the former president.

Dearie, a New York-based federal judge, laid out his plan for reviewing the documents in a court filing Thursday. The plan signed by Dearie says he will need help from James Orenstein, a retired judge who will be charging Trump $500 an hour. The potential additional legal fees come after a series of recent court setbacks for Trump.

Dearie was appointed special master last week and is responsible for sorting through records recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in August that may be protected by attorney or executive privileges. Trump’s attorneys successfully lobbied for the special master’s appointment and proposed Dearie, who has until November 30 to complete his review.

Donald Trump at the rally
Former President Donald Trump applauds upon his arrival at the Conservative Political Action Conference August 6, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. The special foreman appointed to oversee the review of documents seized at Trump’s home has suggested Trump hire help at a cost of $500 an hour.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Dearie’s plan states that Orenstein has “experience with complex case management, privilege checking, warrant proceedings, and other matters that may arise on the course.” Orenstein, who has top secret clearance, was also an adviser to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees investigations into foreign spies.

According to the plan, starting Oct. 1, Dearie will begin sending out invoices for Orenstein’s work, which Trump’s attorneys can contest. Dearie said he will not seek additional compensation.

“OMG I’M DYING!!!” Ron Filipkowski, a Trump critic and former federal prosecutor, reacted on twitter.

Dearie’s plan comes a day after the Department of Justice (DOJ) won a notable victory after the 11th Circuit Court overturned part of a district judge’s order that prevented federal investigators from reviewing classified documents obtained from Trump’s South Florida vacation spot.

The ruling means the DOJ does not have to turn over documents marked as confidential to Dearie for review. The three-judge panel, which included two Trump-appointed individuals, also undermined Trump’s insistence that he declassify every document he took with him as he left the White House.

“[Trump] did not even attempt to show that he needed to know the information contained in the classified documents,” the panel wrote in its decision. “Nor has he demonstrated that the current government has waived this requirement for these documents.”

During a Tuesday hearing, Dearie reportedly urged Trump’s legal team to justify the ex-president’s claims that he declassified the documents, telling them they can’t “have your cake and eat it too.”

In the document review plan he signed Thursday, Dearie indicated that Trump’s legal team must explain why each document seized is protected by attorney or executive privilege, as well as any documents deemed personal.

Dearie also directed the government to provide a detailed list of property stolen from Mar-a-Lago and that Trump’s attorneys will have until September 30 to challenge the list’s accuracy. This gives Trump’s legal team one last chance to support the former president’s claim that the FBI uncovered evidence during a search of his home.

“This filing is intended to be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to present factual disputes as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” Dearie wrote in the plan.

news week has reached out to Trump’s legal team for comment. The helper suggested by the special master could cost Trump $500 an hour

Rick Schindler

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