“The Justice Department on Thursday submitted a redacted version of the affidavit used to support a search warrant of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month,” ABC News reported.
Judge Bruce Reinhart on Monday formally rejected the Justice Department’s argument to keep the Trump raid affidavit sealed.
The judge last Thursday ordered the Justice Department to unseal only a portion of the probable cause affidavit.
Reinhart gave department officials a noon deadline to submit proposed redactions under seal as well as a legal memorandum explaining their justifications for what they think should remain hidden from the public.
The Justice Department submitted to a federal judge on Thursday a redacted version of the affidavit that supported its application for a search warrant for former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence earlier this month. https://t.co/VG6PpT8nib pic.twitter.com/nuNuM1yGXN
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 25, 2022
JUST IN: DOJ submits redacted version of affidavit used to support a search warrant of former Pres. Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, as a magistrate judge weighs whether to make portions of it public. https://t.co/QlXLUPxkUI
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 25, 2022
“The Government argues that even requiring it to redact portions of the Affidavit that could not reveal agent identities or investigative sources and methods imposes an undue burden on its resources and sets a precedent that could be disruptive and burdensome in future cases,” Reinhart wrote.
“I do not need to reach the question of whether, in some other case, these concerns could justify denying public access; they very well might.”
Reinhart said he will review the redactions and make changes if necessary.
ABC News reported:
The government argued in court last week that the redactions they believe would be necessary to protect the integrity of their ongoing criminal investigation would essentially render the document “meaningless.”
A coalition of media organizations, including ABC News, has urged for release of the affidavit even with redactions — citing the need to further inform the public in light of the historic nature of the search of a former president’s residence.
Jay Bratt, the head of DOJ’s counterintelligence division, said “there would be nothing of substance” adding that the government is “very concerned about the safety of the witnesses” and the impact releasing the affidavit could have on other witnesses.
“It doesn’t serve the media’s interest to give them something that is meaningless,” Bratt said.
Bratt argued there is information in the document that could easily identify witnesses based on the descriptions of events that only certain people would have knowledge about.
Reinhart said in a Monday filing that he may ultimately side with the government.
Government lawyers argued that keeping the affidavit under seal will ‘protect witnesses’ and ‘FBI agents’ involved.
“According to investigative reporter Paul Sperry, the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in an effort to seize documents that likely implicated the FBI in its Spygate operation which explains why the government is fiercely working to keep the affidavit sealed,” The Gateway Pundit noted.