One of the key opening battles in the fight over President Trump’s records at Mar-a-Lago has been resolved as the Florida-based judge presiding over Trump’s case appointed a special master to review his records that were seized from his estate.
On Thursday, US District Judge Aileen Cannon appointed Senior Judge Raymond Dearie as ‘Special Master’ of the probe in to President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago records.
Dearie has a reputation for being fair and impartial, according to prosecutors and defense attorneys alike.
In a Politico profile of the judge, all experts and attorneys who were asked about Dearie spoke highly of his qualifications and fairness in cases.
On the flip side, Dearie signed off on a warrant granting intelligence officials a FISA warrant to surveil Trump aide Carte Page during the Russiagate probe that was investigating if Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 Presidential election.
Lawyers and litigants who have appeared before Dearie describe him as independent, thorough and even-handed jurist who is fit to wrangle the dueling sides. As much as any judge put in this difficult position, they say he’s up to the task.
“He’s one of the few judges who both sides want to appear in front of. He is held in the highest regard by attorneys. He’s someone who actually listens to the lawyers and considers what they have to say before he makes a decision,” said Lindsay Gerdes, a former Brooklyn federal prosecutor.
Sean Hecker, an attorney at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP who has had several cases before Dearie (including one pending) said much the same. “He’s independent-minded, extremely smart and wise. Hard to imagine a more qualified person for this challenging assignment.”
He also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for seven years — where he was one of the judges who signed off warrants the FBI used to surveil 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page in an investigation into Russian election interference.