United States District Court Judge Aileen Cannon has appointed a special master to review documents seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate last month, rejecting a Justice Department (DOJ) request to let federal prosecutors continue their review of classified documents.
Judge Cannon appointed Raymond Dearie, a former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, to act as special master and ordered the review be completed by November 30th. She stressed the importance of appointing "a neutral third party" to conduct the review "in an expedited and orderly fashion."
But there's a catch: Trump's legal team must cover the costs.
The news that Trump will have to pay for the costs of the special master's review is especially significant because Trump has for decades typically avoided or flat out refused to pay his debts.
Over the years, hundreds of people have alleged that Trump doesn't pay his bills. In 2016, at the height of the election cycle, USA TODAYreported that its team had reviewed "at least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings" from people who've accused Trump and his businesses of not paying them for their work.
Trump's penchant for not paying his bills has made him so infamous that he has had trouble securing legal services and had to scramble to find representation after the FBI raided his home.
The news that Trump—whose legal troubles have only continued to mount—is on the hook for fees related to the special master's review prompted many to make the same joke.
The schadenfreude is real.
Dearie was the only candidate Trump's legal team and the DOJ could agree on; Trump had previously rejected all of the DOJ's picks and has suggested that the investigation is politically motivated.
Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate was searched last month by FBI agents who were hunting for classified documents Trump had spirited away from the Oval Office. They are still searching for others after recovering empty folders with classified markings on the premises.
The DOJ sought a search warrant after "obtaining evidence that highly classified documents were likely concealed and that Mr. Trump’s representatives had falsely claimed all sensitive material had been returned," according to The New York Times, which broke the news about the court filing.
The filing came after Trump requested an independent review of materials seized from Mar-a-Lago following a search that found three classified documents in desks in Trump's office as well as more than 100 documents in 13 boxes or containers with classification markings, some with the highest restrictions.