The lawyer from Bedminister, New Jersey, said Judge Raymond Dearie ‘showed a little bit of white gloves, which makes me nervous when you’re not willing to get in the weeds on this.’
But she said she was not ‘ready to judge him yet.’
She accused the Justice Department of running a ‘political’ investigation geared toward the November elections, although in its latest filing Trump’s team complained about the pace and sought to delay proceedings into November.
She was asked by Newsmax interviewer Rob Schmitt, who noted that Trump’s legal team – Habba is not working on this particular case – had put forward the name of Judge Dearie as one of two recommendations.
Donald Trump lawyer Alina Habba accused the Justice Department of trying to engineer an ‘October surprise’ with the FBI’s August 8 raid on Mar-a-Lago
Schmitt called it ‘a decision made by somebody on the Trump team [who] wanted this special master,’ and said it ‘turned out to be a bad choice.’
‘I don’t know that yet. You know, judges are under a tremendous amount of pressure when they get a case that’s very political,’ Habba said.
‘Remember, these judges are human beings. They don’t want to be in the press. They just want to apply case law and some of them don’t. And some of them appear to be harsher when they don’t necessarily have to be,’ she said.
She also took on Dearie’s contention that Trump’s lawyers should have to present evidence that Trump declassified the materials if that is what they want to claim.
Habba called it ‘a little tricky’ and ‘surprising’ that the judge ‘did not want to look at classified documents.’
She called ‘surprising’ that special master Judge Raymond Dearie ‘did not want to look at classified documents,’ after he pressed Trump lawyers to show evidence to support Donald Trump’s claim that they were declassified
Dearie grilled Trump’s lawyers at a Tuesday hearing
Donald Trump’s attorneys Linsey Halligan, James Trusty, and Chris Kise met with DOJ attorneys at Brooklyn Federal Court to try to set procedures for a special master, which they had requested to sort through material seized from Trump’s Florida club
‘Now the Department of Justice filed this crazy raid, pretending it’s all these criminal actions, because it’s around the corner to November,’ Habba told the conservative outlet Newsmax
‘I did find it surprising that he wouldn’t actually look at the classified documents, which was the entire purpose of having a specialty master,’ she said.
DOJ has filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals after another federal judge, Aileen Cannon, who sits in Florida, ruled against the government’s request to separate documents marked ‘classified’ from those being sorted through by the special master.
‘They’re panicking,’ Habba said.
‘This is what happens. This is not what the DOJ is supposed to do. This is not what the FBI is supposed to do. But that is what I think is happening.’
‘Now the Department of Justice filed this crazy raid, pretending it’s all these criminal actions, because it’s around the corner to November, and this is what we like to call an October surprise, which we’ve seen before,’ she said.
Trump’s lawyers have not said explicitly he ordered the documents classified. They put the terms ‘classified’ in quotes in legal filings
Documents seized during the search of Trump’s estate on August 8 are pictured on August 30. Trump’s lawyers have declined to say in legal filings whether Trump had ordered them declassified while he was in office and had the authority
Raymond Dearie, a veteran New York judge, has been appointed as special master to oversee the Mar-a-Lago investigation. The Trump Team listed him as among two recommendations for the post. According to a report, they believed he was a skeptic of the FBI
She was referring to the August 8 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. That came after correspondence between National Archives officials and Trump’s team went on for a year. Trump returned 15 boxes of material to the government in January 2022. A grand jury subpoenaed documents in May. A DOJ official collected more material in June. And then the FBI took additional boxes in the search.
DOJ says the FBI obtained about 100 classified documents in the search, for a total of about 300 documents marked classified from Trump’s Florida golf club.
Habba’s comments come after Dearie grilled a team of four of his attorneys in a Brooklyn courthouse Tuesday over their refusal to back up claims that he declassified files when he left office.
‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too,’ Judge Raymond Dearie said when the former president’s legal team repeatedly refused to back up the claims in a tense court hearing in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Dearie is tasked with reviewing a trove of government documents including information marked classified that FBI agents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
He was pressing Trump’s legal team with sharp questioning about whether they had evidence to back up the former president’s continued claims that he had declassified material when he left the White House.
His tough questions came as Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department try to work through how to sort through boxes of government material that were held at Trump’s club after Trump left office.
Some legal experts have said Trump could be in legal jeopardy even if he had declassified all the material that has been uncovered, since the government is investigating possession and handling of national security information, which could apply even if it weren’t classified.
Trump lawyer Jim Trusty at one point said the lawyers were ‘not in a position’ to say whether Trump had declassified the documents until they could review them.
‘You did bring a lawsuit,’ Dearie scolded him.
Dearie also said that absent evidence from Trump’s lawyers, he would assume the document were classified as marked.
‘If the government gives me prima facia evidence that they are classified documents, and you don’t advance any claim of declassification, I’m left with a prima facia case of classified documents, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it,’ he said.