After a Florida judge asked Justice Department prosecutors and Donald Trump’s attorneys to agree an arbitrator to review former President Mar-a-Lago’s papers, the two sides found common ground in the form of a semi-retired Brooklyn Federal Court judge.

78-year-old Judge Raymond Dearie, a widely respected Long Island-born lawyer, faced local mobsters and once oversaw a court battle in the New York City Mayor Race.

Now a humble local judge who served as a prosecutor in the 1970s and 1980s and went into semi-retirement ten years ago, is taking on his most prestigious post at the twilight of his career.

As a special Trump champion, Dearie is tasked with reviewing more than 10,000 documents confiscated by FBI agents last month at Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida home to see if any should be protected by attorney or client privilege. .

In a highly politicized case, according to those who saw him at work, he would introduce an old school style.

“I don’t think he’s ideological,” said Alexander Coleman, a lawyer who had several cases before Dearie. “I just think he is following what the law requires.”

Sal Albanese, who unsuccessfully tried to convince Dearie to secure him a place on the New York mayor’s debate scene in 2017, still found positive words for the judge.

“Obviously I was not happy with this decision,” said Albanese, a Democrat who ran in line three for the mayor after losing in the 2017 mayoral primary. “The fact is, he’s very, very considerate. He is a professional. He is the quintessential veteran judge.

Gina Parlovecchio, a former prosecutor in the New York East District Attorney’s Office, repeated the praise. “He’s very prudent and honest,” she said of Dearie.

The Justice Department opposed the creation of a special master role, warning that bringing an outside arbitrator to the case would infringe national security interests. But Trump’s Florida-based judge Aileen Cannon acceded to the former president’s request for a retrial.

Cannon asked both sides to cooperate to propose special candidates for champions. Instead, the Trump government and lawyers presented their own choices. Trump’s lawyers suggested Dearie.

The Department of Justice eventually bowed to Dearie, who was born in Rockville Center and studied at St. John’s University School of Law in Queens and was nominated to the federal jury in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. (At the time, New York’s Republican Senator Al D’Amato insisted that he be appointed to the jury.)

Dearie was given a November 30 deadline to complete his work on the Trump case.

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His Republican status certainly helped him gain the backing of Trump’s lawyers. It is also known that Dearie is working slowly, which may have appealed to the Trump team, which was hoping for delays in the prosecution investigation.

But the judge, who worked for a while in the secret foreign intelligence oversight court, appears to be enormously qualified in this case. And his admired style could be sold by the Department of Justice.

“He’s the kind you think you would be a great, experienced judge to be,” said Sean Hecker, a New York-based trial attorney who had many cases before Dearie.

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