“The government considers it appropriate for the court to appoint a special captain to determine the privileges in respect of materials seized under the orders,” lawyers from the office of U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss wrote in a letter sent last week to a U.S. District Court judge. Paul Etken. The letter was printed by the court on Tuesday.
Prosecutors appear to have written to Yotken because he is leading a criminal case in which two of Giuliani’s associates are facing campaign finance and fraud. Giuliani is not charged.
The letter was sent on Thursday, a day after a search of Giuliani̵
As part of a special trial, a respected lawyer – often a retired judge or magistrate – often oversees the screening of emails, text messages, photos, audio and video files to determine what is covered by the order. The Special Master may also assess whether such records are covered by the client-lawyer privilege or other protections that lawyers have for their records.
Prosecutors’ proposal in Giuliani’s case appears to cover a special captain who oversees the review of privileges, but not the sorting of what records match. Giuliani, Trump or other clients of Giuliani could ask Oetken to expand the responsibilities of the special lawyer.
Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, declined to comment on Tuesday.
When the FBI raided Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen in 2018, prosecutors said the appointment of a special master was “neither mandatory nor appropriate.” Instead, attorneys at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said they planned to rely on a “strict filtering protocol” to make sure investigators did not receive privileged or inappropriate records. This approach is sometimes called a “dirty team”, which then transmits recordings that those conducting the investigation are considered entitled to see.
After Cohen and Trump’s lawyers filed lawsuits trying to block the process, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood agreed to have the sorting and review controlled by an independent third party: retired Judge Barbara Jones.
Wood agreed to appoint a special master, saying it could boost the “perception of justice” in the high-ranking case, although prosecutors in the Giuliani case stressed in a letter to Oetken that she also said the appointment was not necessary. to ensure “justice. “
Wood’s decision seemed influenced by the fact that Trump, Trump and Cohen agreed to bear the cost of the review.
It was not immediately clear who would pay for a special master in the Giuliani case or whether Trump would participate through his lawyers. Trump spokesman Jason Miller did not respond to a request for comment.
In the end, more than 4 million items from the Cohen search were reviewed in a process that took several months.
Recent events followed a ruling last year by a federal appeals court based in Richmond, Virginia, in an unrelated case. A panel of this court rejected the use by the Department of Justice of a desecrated team of state agents to sort and categorize materials seized from a law firm in Baltimore.
Five days before the change of administration in January, the Ministry of Justice requested the full bench of the fouryou Rehearsal chain of the case. The court refused later that month. This left the decision in place and set a precedent, but one that now rules only in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Carolina.