Major media outlets demanded the release of the probable cause affidavit behind the FBI’s raid of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
“U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart weighed the concerns of the government that releasing the affidavit could jeopardize their investigation against the concerns of the media, whose attorneys questioned the legality of a blanket restriction,” The Palm Beach Post reported.
Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch also demanded the release of the affidavit.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response the Biden Justice Department’s opposition to Judicial Watch’s Motion to Unseal:
It seems like the Biden Justice Department is telling the court what to do. Respectfully, the court should make its own independent assessment of the compelling public interest in transparency about this abusive raid. The ‘criminal investigation’ the Biden administration is covering up reeks of corruption and dishonesty – and is based on a reinvention of law about presidential records that is at odds with the U.S. Constitution, court rulings, federal statutes, and prior government legal positions and practice. No administration should be able to raid the home of a former president and putative presidential candidate based on ‘secret’ reasons.
The U.S. Constitution and federal law give unreviewable authority to President Trump to take whatever records he wishes at the end of his presidency. The Biden administration’s dishonest depiction of personal records of President Trump it illicitly seized during the raid as “classified” is further demonstration that the raid was a brazen act of raw political abuse.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to unseal only a portion of the probable cause affidavit.
The judge instructed the Department of Justice to file a redacted version of the affidavit used to obtain the warrant.
From The Blaze:
At a hearing Thursday in West Palm Beach, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said that he is not prepared to grant the Justice Department’s request that the affidavit remain sealed. He said he was inclined to agree with media requests to partially release the document and will make a final decision next week after the agency submits proposed redactions for the affidavit, according to reporters.
Judge Reinhart says he isn't convinced the entire affidavit behind the Mar-a-Lago search should remain sealed, as DOJ wants. Prosecutors have until next Thursday to propose possible redactions and explain why they think that information needs to be kept private.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 18, 2022
NEWS: Florida judge Bruce Reinhart says he is inclined to release parts of the affidavit justifying Trump raid and ordered government to submit proposed redactions in a week.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) August 18, 2022
NBC News added:
“On my initial careful review … there are portions of it that can be unsealed,” Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said after a hearing where a top government lawyer contended the document’s release could jeopardize an investigation that is still in its “early stages.”
Reinhart said he would “give the government a full and fair opportunity” to make redactions to the document, and ordered them to turn in the redacted version by next Thursday. He said he would then review the document and either order its release if he agrees with the redaction or hold a closed-door hearing with the government if he disagrees.
Cont. from The Blaze:
Though the government wants to keep the FBI affidavit sealed, Attorney General Merrick Garland asked the court to unseal the warrant last week, saying it was in the public interest. The unsealed warrant revealed that Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act and the Presidential Records Act by allegedly keeping classified information at Mar-a-Lago and neglecting to return documents to the National Archives.
Trump, who has denied all wrongdoing, has demanded the “immediate release” of the “unredacted” affidavit and warrant and accused the Biden administration of weaponizing law enforcement against him for political reasons. The former president has also attacked the judge, calling on Reinhart to “recuse” himself because the judge previously recused himself from overseeing a lawsuit Trump filed against his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton in March.