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Special Master Calls for Outside Help in Mar-a-Lago Documents Case, Bills Trump $500 an Hour

Judge Raymond Dearie, the court-appointed Special Master in former President Donald Trump’s ‘classified’ documents case, is calling for outside help. Trump will be billed $500 an hour for aid from a retired judge with “top secret” clearance, as well as staff from the Eastern District of New York.

“The undersigned has determined that the efficient administration of the Special Master’s duties requires the assistance of the Honorable James Orenstein (Ret.), a former United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, who has experience with complex case management, privilege review, warrant procedures, and other matters that may arise in the course of the Special Master’s duties,” the court order state. “Judge Orenstein has served as an appointed amicus curiae in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1803(i)(2) and currently holds Top Secret clearance.”

“The undersigned will also utilize Eastern District of New York court staff in carrying out his duties as Special Master. The undersigned will promptly notify the parties of any need for additional professionals, support staff, or expert consultants,” the court order read.

“As a United States District Judge in active service, the undersigned will seek no additional compensation for performing the duties of Special Master in this action,” it continued. “The undersigned proposes that Judge Orenstein be compensated at the hourly rate of $500. The undersigned further proposes that the Special Master will provide the parties with monthly invoices, starting on October 1, 2022, setting forth the hours worked and expenses to be reimbursed.”

“No later than seven calendar days after receiving each such invoice, Plaintiff shall notify the undersigned of any objections to the invoice, which will be promptly reviewed and resolved,” the order added. “No later than seven calendar days after the undersigned has resolved any such disputes (or seven calendar days after receiving an invoice as to which Plaintiff raises no objections), Plaintiff will submit payment in full as directed on the invoice. Failure to make timely payment will be deemed a violation of the Special Master’s order subject to sanction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53(c)(2).”

Dearie’s proposal is subject to comment from both legal parties. The Special Master is also calling for evidence that the FBI may have planted evidence during the raid on Mar-a-Lago.

Trump last month suggested on Truth Social that the FBI may have tampered with the seized items.

“The FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote. “Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.’”

Trump’s legal team has been given a deadline of September 30 to accept or dispute the FBI’s list of items taken from Mar-a-Lago.