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Judge Delivers Major Ruling on Unsealing Affidavit in Mar-a-Lago Raid

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


The judge in the case deciding if the Department of Justice affidavit for a search of former President Donald Trump’s house has made a decision.

Mere hours after the Department of Justice submitted its redacted version of the affidavit the judge ordered it to be released with the redactions, CNN reported.

The document is to be given to media sources by noon on Friday.

The affidavit lays out why investigators believe there was probable cause that crimes had been committed. The warrant authorized the FBI to search former President Donald Trump’s home and private club earlier this month.

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Earlier Thursday, the DOJ submitted its proposed redactions to US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who issued the order for the public release.

Justice Department Spokesman Anthony Coley said: “The United States has filed a submission under seal per the Court’s order of Aug. 22. The Justice Department respectfully declines further comment as the Court considers the matter.”

Justice Department prosecutors have emphasized that they need continued secrecy as to not disrupt the ongoing criminal investigation — especially as they keep confidential grand jury activity and protect witnesses who have or could share information.

In his order, Reinhart said the Justice Department convinced him that portions of the affidavit should remain sealed because “disclosure would reveal (1) the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties, (2) the investigation’s strategy, direction, scope, sources, and methods, and (3) grand jury information.”

US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart says he will unseal some of the procedural filings currently under seal on the search warrant docket.

“I am not prepared to find that the affidavit should be fully sealed,” the judge said, meaning that, at minimum, some of the affidavit will be revealed.

“According to the judge’s comments, the filings are the Department of Justice’s motion to seal the warrant documents, the order granting that sealing request, and the criminal cover sheet,” CNN reported.

Jay Bratt, a Justice Department lawyer, argued that allowing the public to read the affidavit would “provide a roadmap to the investigation,” and would indicate the next steps in the probe.

“In this case, the court has found probable cause there’s a violation of one of the obstruction statutes, and that evidence of obstruction would be found at Mar-a-Lago” said Jay Bratt, who heads the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section.

The “public has a ‘clear and powerful’ interest in understanding the unprecedented investigation in former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified records,” the media organizations including CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post said.

The Department of Justice argued that the affidavit should stay sealed.

“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” it said.

But the former president has called for it to be shown to everyone.

“In the interest of TRANSPARENCY, I call for the immediate release of the completely Unredacted Affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN,” he said. “Also, the Judge on this case should recuse!”

The judge faced criticism and even threats after it was discovered that he had recused himself from a lawsuit involving Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Last week, one of the personal attorneys for former President Donald Trump demanded to know why the judge who signed the warrant to search his private house had recused himself from a lawsuit against 2016 Democrat Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton.

The attorney, Alina Habba, said that this judge recused himself from the former president’s lawsuit against Clinton this year when she spoke to Fox News host Jesse Watters on Friday, The Daily Mail reported.

“They needed a little drama, so they throw this out there. They go to the judge that had recused himself in my Hillary case a month ago,” she said.

“I would like to know why he recused himself in that case, but then he was able to sign this warrant. I want to know that,” she said.





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