Trump Wants to Split Cost of Special Master, DOJ Wants Him

  • A judge granted Trump’s request for a special master, but the DOJ has appealed the decision.
  • A new court filing showed the two sides disagree over who should pay for the special master.
  • The government said that Trump, “as the party requesting the special master,” should bear the cost.

Former President Donald Trump wants the government to split the cost of a special master, but the Department of Justice thinks he should foot the bill.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon on Monday granted Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review the records seized in the court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago on August 8, but the Justice Department appealed the decision.

Both sides submitted their proposed candidates for a special master in a court filing on Friday evening, with each naming two potential picks.

The filing also outlined disagreements between the government and Trump’s legal team regarding how the special master process would unfold.

Trump’s team proposed “to split evenly the professional fees and expenses of the Special Master and any professionals, support staff, and expert consultants engaged at the Master’s request.”

But the Justice Department, which had already begun reviewing the seized materials and does not want a special master appointed, disagreed.

“The Government’s position is that, as the party requesting the special master, Plaintiff should bear the additional expense of the Special Master’s work,” the filing said.

The parties also disagreed over the review process, including the duties and limitations of the special master. Trump’s team wants the special master to be able to review all materials — including those with classification markings — and to evaluate if any documents fall under executive privilege claims. The Justice Department disagreed with both points.

Legal experts have previously questioned Trump’s assertion that he may have executive privilege claims over some of the documents. Executive privilege is a legal concept that allows the president to withhold certain confidential communications within the executive branch.

It’s also unclear if the Justice Department’s appeal will be successful. Some legal experts have questioned the decision to grant Trump’s request for a special master.