US district judge Aileen Cannon has rejected the Department of Justice's (DOJ) request to revive the criminal probe against Donald Trump in the classified documents case and instead appointed a judge picked by the former President as special master to review the documents seized by the FBI on August 8 from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
Raymond Dearie, a Brooklyn-based federal judge, was selected on Thursday to serve as an independent arbiter to review the materials seized during the surprise search.
His name was put forward as a possible candidate for the special master's role by Trump, CNN reported.
The special master will be a Senior Judge who had sued in court to obtain the review.
The DOJ also endorsed Dearie's appointment.
Trump claims he declassified Mar-a-Lago docs, but his lawyers avoid making that assertion, CNN said.
Judge Cannon's rejection of the DOJ's bid to revive its criminal investigation into the classified has set the stage for the Department's dispute with Trump over the search to move quickly to an appeals court and potentially the Supreme Court.
Cannon gave the special master a deadline of November 30 to complete his review.
The schedule puts the review ending after the mid-term congressional elections -- essentially guaranteeing the Mar-a-Lago investigation will move slowly for the next two months, unless a higher court steps in, CNN said.
This means Trump gets a reprieve, unless blocked by a higher court, and enough time to campaign for his candidates for the midterms, a sort of victory for him.
Trump backed candidates initially won the primaries but, after President Joe Biden announced the inflation reduction act and signed an Executive Order on abortion rights, the former President's candidates started losing the primaries in important states.
Judge Dearie, a Ronald Reagan appointee and picked by Trump now takes centre stage.
He sits on the district court for the Eastern District of Brooklyn, where he has taken senior status -- meaning his workload has been lightened significantly as he nears the end of his time on the federal bench.
Dearie was appointed as a judge in 1986 and was for a time the chief judge of the Brooklyn-based district court. He also served a seven-year term, concluding in 2019, on the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), CNN said.
In his role as a FISC judge, Dearie was one of the judges who approved one of the DOJ's requests to surveil former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, as part of the federal inquiry into Russia 2016 election interference.