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The independent expert was not satisfied with the progress of the Mar-a-Lago documents

The independent expert was not satisfied with the progress of the Mar-a-Lago documents

(CNN) — A court-appointed independent expert on Tuesday expressed frustration at the scant information being received from the Justice Department and former President Donald Trump’s defense attorneys about disputes over documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

“Where’s the meat? I need some meat,” Judge Raymond Deary, acting as the third reviewer for the seized documents, said during a half-hour conference call with lawyers for both sides.

The debate highlights the messy and time-consuming process of working through privacy claims in the unprecedented criminal investigation into Trump. The former president argues that at least some of the documents are his and should not be allowed to be used by Justice Department investigators.

Dearie reviews the documents to determine which ones the Justice Department can use in its criminal investigation. It will then send its recommendations to U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon in Florida.

On Tuesday, Deary mentioned a controversial letter that was already among a collection of documents taken from Trump’s Florida estate that may be personal. The letter appears to have been sent to the Justice Department, but a copy found at Mar-a-Lago was not signed. The Justice Department did not say whether the agency received it.

Deary asked why the two parties could not decide between themselves whether the letter had been sent, an important fact that would help the judge decide whether it should be kept confidential.

“I don’t want to deal with pointless objections, pointless claims, especially when I have a month to deal with who knows how many claims,” ​​said Deary, of the Eastern District of New York.

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Deary’s deliberations on Tuesday and earlier orders set a mid-December deadline for him to make decisions on the privacy of the documents. The Justice Department is already working separately on a hundred records seized at Mar-a-Lago and marked classified that were separated from Deary’s work, and the company is challenging the special master’s process in a federal appeals court.

Deary told the parties he was eager to hear from both sides about how to handle the documents Trump wants to subpoena privately so they can be protected from investigators and claims they are covered by executive privilege. Documents.

“If I’m wrong, and I’ve been wrong before, there’s some inconsistency there. Maybe plaintiffs’ counsel will address that in a filing,” Dear said.

Both sides will file their additional privilege claims with Deary by Nov. 12.

The parties have yet to specify how many of the nearly 22,000 pages seized from Trump at Mar-a-Lago are in dispute, and a special master must make the call.