Judge says that a few DOJ testimonies utilized to obtain the Mar-a-Lago investigation warrant can be unsealed

Judge says that a few DOJ testimonies utilized to obtain the Mar-a-Lago investigation warrant can be unsealed

August 22, 2022: -On Thursday, a federal judge said that parts of the affidavit used to obtain a search contract for former President Donald Trump’s resort home Mar-a-Lago, can be unsealed, NBC News reported.

The decision from U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart came after the Department of Justice requested him not to unseal the compassionate document, which details the state’s view that it had possible cause to believe the search of Mar-a-Lago would turn up evidence of illegality.

The government’s investigation into the documents seized from Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, residence is still in its “early stages,” argued Jay Bratt, head of a DOJ counterintelligence team, NBC reported.

The affidavit contains “actual grand jury” information in a case with “national security overtones,” Bratt reportedly said in the hearing.

Reinhart disagreed, saying he believed “there are portions of it that can be unsealed.”

On Thursday, in a written order, Reinhart wrote, “As I ruled from the bench after the hearing, I find that on the present record, the Government has not met its burden to show that the whole affidavit should remain sealed.”

The judge gives the government a week to file proposed redactions to the affidavit.

The prosecutors had previously advised the court to reject calls from media outlets and other entities to disclose the affidavit, which supported the search warrant used by FBI agents in the August 8 raid on Mar-a-Lago.

Trump has publicly known for the affidavit to be released without redactions, though his lawyers have not yet pointed a motion asking the judge to do so.

The former president “has made his view clear that the American people should be permitted to see the unredacted affidavit related to the raid and break-in of his home,” his spokesman Taylor Budowich said on Twitter after the hearing. His tweets praised Reinhart for rejecting “the DOJ’s cynical attempt to hide the whole affidavit from Americans” but insisted that “no redactions should be necessary.”

The search warrant was publicly released with the DOJ’s approval last week. That document and tenderness indicated that the agents were looking for materials relating to three criminal statutes, one of which was part of the Espionage Act.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he approved the warrant and supported its disclosure in light of the “substantial public interest in this matter.”

But the testimony “presents a very different set of considerations,” federal prosecutors wrote on Monday.

The still-sealed document contains “critically important and detailed investigative facts” about witnesses and other “susceptible information” related to the ongoing criminal probe, which “implicates national security,” the prosecutors wrote.

If disclosed, the affidavit would be “highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” said the filing, which was signed by the head of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the DOJ’s National Security Division.

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