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Justice Dept. says it's open to one of Trump's special master candidates

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The Justice Department on Monday told the court that it did not object to one of two candidates the legal team of former President Donald Trump suggested for special master. File photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1d38ae7e31216cff5f07671a4caef832/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The Justice Department on Monday told the court that it did not object to one of two candidates the legal team of former President Donald Trump suggested for special master. File photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The Justice Department told the court it would be willing to accept one of two candidates proposed by former President Donald Trump to review documents the FBI seized early last month during an unprecedented raid of his Mar-a-Lago residence.

The filing made Monday comes after federal lawyers and Trump's legal team each submitted to the court on Friday a list of two candidates to review a tranche of documents seized from the former president's Palm Beach, Fla., residence in early August as part of an investigation into Trump's potential mishandling of classified information.

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Federal lawyers on Friday asked the court to accept as special master either Barbara Jones, a retired New York district judge, or Thomas Griffith, a former U.S. appeals court in the District of Columbia, while Trump's legal team presented Raymond Dearie, a U.S. district court judge for the Eastern District of New York, and Paul Huck Jr., a former Florida deputy attorney general, as candidates.

In the Monday filing, federal lawyers said along with their two candidates they would be open to Dearie to serve as special master as all three "have substantial judicial experience, during which they have presided over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns."

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The lawyers rejected Huck on the grounds that he "does not appear to have similar experience," the court document states.

Meanwhile, Trump's legal team flatly rejected both of the Justice Department's candidates without explanation, stating in its Monday filing that "it is more respectful to the candidates from either party to withhold the bases for opposition from a public, and likely to be widely circulated, pleading," and that it would be willing to explain at another time.

"Consistent with that approach, Plaintiff is willing to provide our specific rational for supporting our nominees if and when the Court so orders," it states.

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The development comes after weeks of litigation over whether Trump should be allowed a third-party reviewer of more than 11,000 documents taken from his Florida residence on Aug. 8.

That contest ended late last week when U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump's request, and the two sides presented their candidates.

On Monday, lawyers for Trump also urged Cannon to affirm an order that bars the Justice Department from resuming its investigation into the classified records.

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The Justice Department has asked Cannon to allow it to continue with its investigation on the grounds that a pause is a risk to national security.

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The raid on Trump's residence was conducted on accusations that his holding onto presidential records including highly classified documents violates the Espionage Act.

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