A federal judge formally rejected the Department of Justice’s request to keep the affidavit that led to the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago sealed due to “the intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President’s residence.”
The Biden administration argued “the present record justifies keeping the entire Affidavit under seal,” but Judge Bruce Reinhart, who cleared the initial search warrant, said in a 13-page ruling issued Monday that the government had not given a strong enough argument for that request.
“I was — and am — satisfied that the facts sworn by the affiant are reliable,” Reinhart said in the order
Reinhart ruled last week that he would consider unsealing portions of the affidavit after conferring with the Justice Department and determining whether proposed redactions would be sufficient to protect the ongoing criminal investigation connected to the search. But in his order, Reinhart emphasized that he may ultimately agree with prosecutors that any redactions would be so extensive that they would render the document useless.
“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the Government,” Reinhart wrote.
The new order underlines the historic significance of a typically secret part of the criminal investigative process, arriving just as Trump has indicated he’s preparing to mount his own attack on the FBI investigation in court. The Justice Department is due to propose potential redactions by Thursday, portending a potentially lengthy process of negotiation with Reinhart and possible appeals. (Politico)
REINHART says the public reporting about what was taken from Mar-a-Lago (i.e. nuclear or special access) has not been confirmed by DOJ. But even if true, he notes, the affidavit also reveals sources and methods that would be dangerous to disclose. https://t.co/MqOuPYRRhE pic.twitter.com/hZfDiTI9sD— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 22, 2022
“I therefore reject the Government’s argument that the present record justifies keeping the entire Affidavit under seal,” he said.