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Tipsheet

Judge Orders DOJ Must Respond to Motion Seeking Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

A magistrate judge has ordered the Biden DOJ to respond to a request from government watchdog Judicial Watch which filed a motion in U.S. District Court to have the search warrant — that saw Mar-a-Lago raided by the FBI — unsealed by authorities. 

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Here's the case Judicial Watch made in its filing:

Judicial Watch is investigating the potential politicization of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice and whether the FBI and the Justice Department are abusing their law enforcement powers to harass a likely future political opponent of President Biden.

[...]

The public has an urgent and substantial interest in understanding the predicate for the execution of the unprecedented search warrant of the private residence of a former president and likely future political opponent…. [N]o official explanation or information has been released about the search. As of the filing of this motion, the public record consists solely of speculation and inuendo. In short, the historical presumption of access to warrant materials vastly outweighs any interest the government may have in keeping the materials under seal.

[...]

Given the political context, and the highly unusual action of executing a search warrant at the residence of a former President and likely future political opponent, it is essential that the public understands as soon as possible the basis for the government’s action. Any government interest in securing the identities of witnesses and confidential sources, if any, may be addressed by appropriate redactions from the search warrant affidavit.

The filing has, procedurally at least, been moved forward. The magistrate judge who approved the warrant — Bruce Reinhart, who previously helped employees of Jeffrey Epstein secure immunity deals, donated to the campaigns of Democrats and Trump opponents, and posted disparagingly about Trump on social media — has directed the Biden Department of Justice to respond to Judicial Watch's request by Monday. Notably, Reinhart's official biography page on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida website has been removed after information about the judge's past work and statements about Trump.

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While some expect the Department of justice to deny Judicial Watch's motion to release the warrant, such a response would still not preclude President Trump and his lawyers from releasing the warrant on their own and putting at least some of the speculation to bed for now. 

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