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Trump Will Have to Pay $500 an Hour for Special Masters’ Assistant

  • Judge Raymond Dearie is calling for help to get through the documents the FBI seized.
  • He nominated a retired judge, James Orenstein, to aid him — at the cost of $500 per hour.
  • This bill will be footed by Trump, who has been asked to pay for the special master he requested.

District Court Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master appointed as a neutral investigator to look over the files seized in the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid, is calling for backup.

In a filing dated Thursday, Dearie wrote that he would not seek additional compensation for serving as a special master in the Trump case. However, he asked to be allowed to hire an assistant — James Orenstein, a former magistrate judge in New York — to help in evaluating the 11,000 documents that the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago.

Dearie has until November 30 to finish reviewing the documents.

During its raid on Mar-a-Lago, the FBI seized batches of classified documents, including some marked “top secret.” The Department of Justice is looking into whether Trump broke any of three federal laws — including the Espionage Act — by keeping the documents at his Florida residence.

In the filing, Dearie asked that Orenstein, who is retired, be “compensated at the hourly rate of $500.” 

Dearie, 78, is a former chief judge of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Upon Trump’s request, he was appointed as a third-party neutral investigator amid the former president’s legal tussle with the FBI over the seized documents. Trump is footing the bill for the costs of appointing the special master.

According to Dearie’s filing on Thursday, the expenses incurred in hiring Orenstein will be billed to Trump every month, starting October 1. In addition, the former president will be given an outline of “the hours worked and expenses to be reimbursed.”

Trump’s team will then have seven days to dispute the amount and seven additional days after resolving potential disputes to pay the costs in full.

“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,” the filing stated.

Trump’s team has been tangling with Dearie since the latter was appointed special master.

This week, the former president’s legal team appealed to Dearie to avoid turning over information about whether the documents found at Mar-a-Lago had been declassified, arguing that doing so would compromise any defense Trump has against subsequent indictments.

On Wednesday, Trump also baselessly claimed that he could have declassified top-secret documents just by thinking about doing so.

Meanwhile, Dearie has also asked Trump’s team to prove the former president’s claim that the FBI had planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago.

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