Who Are Trump and the DOJ’s Special Master Nominees?

To review the materials the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago last month, former President Trump and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have proposed four individuals for consideration as special master.

On Monday, a federal judge granted Trump’s request to have a special master review the materials obtained by the FBI to determine whether or not they are protected by attorney-client or executive privilege.

Who Are Trump and the Doj's Special Master Nominees?
Who Are Trump and the Doj’s Special Master Nominees?

On Thursday, the DOJ filed an appeal requesting that the special master not review more than 100 classified documents that the FBI took, citing the potential for “irreparable harm” to the government and the public if the investigation were to be halted while the documents were being reviewed.

Both Trump’s legal team and the Department of Justice proposed two individuals to head the investigation.

Trump and the Department of Justice have proposed the following four individuals to fill the role of special master:

R. J. Raymond Dearie

One of Trump’s picks was retired U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie from New York’s Eastern District. Dearie was nominated to the seat and confirmed by the Senate in 1986 by then-President Reagan.

According to his profile on the court’s website, he led the court as chief judge from 2007 to 2011. In 2011, Dearie became a senior judge on the court, a semi-retirement status for judges over the age of 65 that allows them to take on a reduced caseload.

From 1982 to 1986, Dearie worked for the federal government as an attorney for the Eastern District of New York. According to Trump and the DOJ’s court filing announcing their picks, he also served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews requests for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign spies in the United States.

Paul Huck, Jr.

Trump’s other nominee, Paul Huck Jr., has practiced law in both the public and private sectors. Huck worked as Florida’s deputy attorney general for four years before becoming Gov. Charlie Crist’s general counsel in 2007 and 2008. Crist was a Republican at the time but has since switched parties.

The profile page on the website of conservative legal organization The Federalist Society indicates that while serving as general counsel, he was Crist’s primary legal adviser on executive branch constitutional, legislative, and statutory matters.

A contributor is someone who speaks at or otherwise participates in Federalist Society events, publications, or multimedia presentations; this designation does not imply any further endorsement or affiliation with the group.

According to the legal document, Huck is also the founder of the Huck Law Firm and a former partner at the international law firm Jones Day.

Jones, Barbara S.

Barbara S. Jones, a federal district judge for the Southern District of New York for over 15 years, is one of the DOJ’s picks. In 1995, President Clinton nominated her to fill the vacancy.

According to her profile at Bracewell LLP, where she is a partner, she has presided over cases involving a wide variety of issues, such as accounting and securities fraud, antitrust, corruption, labor racketeering, and terrorism.

She worked as Robert Morgenthau’s top aide as New York County’s district attorney before she became a judge.

Jones oversaw military sexual assault investigations while serving as chair of the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel, an organization established by Congress.

In 2018, she was a special master who looked over documents from Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to determine which ones were protected by attorney-client privilege.

Griffith, Thomas B.

The Department of Justice’s other nominee, Thomas B. Griffith, is an experienced federal judge who will retire from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2020. As a member of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP’s legal team, he acts as special counsel.

According to his profile on his law firm’s website, Griffith served as the Senate legal counsel, the body’s nonpartisan top legal officer, from 1995 to 1999. In his position, he provided counsel on investigations to Senate leadership and committees.

For five years, Griffith served as Brigham Young University’s chief counsel in Utah. He is a lecturer of law at Harvard University and has worked in that function in the past for Stanford University and Brigham Young.