A federal judge said part of the affidavit was used to obtain a search warrant for the former president donald trumpThe resort home of Mar-a-Lago could be unsealed, NBC News reported Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Justice Bruce Reinhart’s decision comes after the Department of Justice asked him not to open highly classified documents, detailing the government’s views.
Jay Bratt, head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s counterintelligence team, said the government’s investigation into records seized from Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., residence was still in the “early stages.” NBC reported.
The affidavit contained “substantial grand jury” information about a case with “national security nuances,” Bratt reportedly said at the hearing.
Reinhart disagreed, saying he believed there were “parts that could be opened.”
An aerial view of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home after Trump said FBI agents had raided the house on August 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
Marco Bello | Reuters
Reinhardt issued the order in writing on Thursday, saying, “As I ruled in court at the end of the hearing, the current record is that the government should keep the entire affidavit sealed. I have found that I have not fulfilled my responsibility to show that there is.”
A judge gave the government one week to submit a draft redacted affidavit.
Prosecutors previously asked the court to reject calls from media and other groups to release affidavits supporting search warrants used by FBI agents in the Aug. 8 Mar-a-Lago attack Was.
Trump has publicly asked that the affidavit be released without redaction, but his lawyers have yet to file a motion asking a judge to do so.
The former president’s spokesperson, Taylor Gravitch, tweeted after the hearing, “The president is of the view that the American people should be allowed to see the unredacted affidavits relating to the president’s raids and break-ins. clarified,” he said. His tweet praised Reinhart for rejecting “the DOJ’s cynical attempt to hide the entire affidavit from Americans,” but claimed that “no redaction is needed.”
The search warrant itself was released last week after it was approved by the Department of Justice. The documents and attachments show that the agent was looking for materials related to three criminal laws, one of which he was part of the Espionage Act.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, who said he personally approved the warrant, supported its disclosure in light of “substantial public interest in this matter.”
But the affidavit “presents a very different set of considerations,” federal prosecutors wrote in documents filed in court on Monday.
The documents, which remain sealed, contain “extremely important and detailed investigative facts” about eyewitnesses and other “highly sensitive information” related to ongoing criminal investigations. It concerns national security,” the prosecutor wrote.
If made public, the affidavit “is very likely to undermine future investigative procedures,” the filing signed by Bratt, head of the Department of Justice’s National Security Agency’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. Stated.
The current criminal investigation stems from examining government records that were transferred to Mar-a-Lago instead of the National Archives after President Trump stepped down in 2021.
FBI agents sought all records and other evidence “illegally owned” in violation of three criminal statutes, according to search warrants and property receipts released last week. Property receipts show seizure of 20 boxes of items and other materials, including multiple marked sets of documents.