Judge orders DOJ to unseal redacted Trump Mar-a-Lago affidavit by Friday at noon – Fox News

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has ordered the Justice Department to unseal and make public a redacted version of the affidavit used to justify the warrant for the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home by Friday at noon.

The Justice Department turned over a redacted version of the affidavit to Reinhart on Thursday at noon, after he rejected the government’s argument to keep the document under seal, citing the “intense public and historical interest” in the FBI’s “unprecedented” raid of a former president’s private residence.

“I have reviewed the Government’s memorandum of law and proposed redactions to the search warrant Affidavit,” Reinhart wrote in his order to unseal Thursday afternoon. “I am fully advised in the entire record, including the contents of the Affidavit.”

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Reinhart said that after reviewing the Justice Department’s redaction, the government “has met its burden of showing a compelling reason” and “good cause to seal portions of the Affidavit,” saying the disclosure would reveal “the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties,” the investigation’s “strategy, direction, scope, sources and methods” and “grand jury information” protected by federal rules.

Reinhart said that after reviewing the affidavit with redactions, he has determined that the Justice Department “has met its burden of showing that its proposed redactions are narrowly tailored to serve the Government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation and are the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire Affidavit.”

Former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Reinhart ordered that the Justice Department unseal the affidavit, with its proposed redactions, by noon on Friday.

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Reinhart signed the FBI’s warrant for the raid on Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 5, giving the FBI authority to conduct its search.

Earlier this month, Reinhart unsealed the FBI’s search warrant and property receipt from the search.

According to the property receipt, reviewed before its release by Fox News Digital, FBI agents took approximately 20 boxes of items from the premises, including one set of documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” which refers to top secret/sensitive compartmented information.

Records covered by that government classification level could potentially include human intelligence and information that, if disclosed, could jeopardize relations between the U.S. and other nations, as well as the lives of intelligence operatives abroad. However, the classification also encompasses national security information related to the daily operations of the president of the United States.

Former President Donald Trump in New York City following the FBI raid at his Mar-a-Lago home.

Former President Donald Trump in New York City following the FBI raid at his Mar-a-Lago home. (Felipe Ramales / Fox News Digital)

The property receipt also shows that FBI agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three sets of confidential documents.

The property receipt does not reveal any details about any of those records.

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The list also includes a “leatherbound box of documents,” binders of photos, handwritten notes, miscellaneous documents, miscellaneous top secret documents and miscellaneous confidential documents, as well as other records.

The government conducted the search in response to what it believes to be a violation of federal laws: 18 USC 793 — gathering, transmitting or losing defense information; 18 USC 2071 — concealment, removal or mutilation; and 18 USC 1519 — destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.

The allegation of “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information” falls under the Espionage Act.

A guard stands outside Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

A guard stands outside Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. (Alon Skuy/Fox News Digital)

The former president and his team are disputing the classification and say they believe the information and records to have been declassified.

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Sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News Digital that the FBI also seized boxes containing records covered by attorney-client privilege and potentially executive privilege during its raid.

Trump and his legal team have filed a motion requesting the appointment of a special master to review those records covered by attorney-client privilege. 

But Fox News has learned that a Department of Justice “taint” or “filter” team has been reviewing documents seized by the FBI since Aug. 8.

The Justice Department’s use of a “taint” or “filter” team, while standard procedure, could complicate Trump’s legal team’s efforts for the appointment of an independent special master to examine the seized records, as it is likely they have already been inspected by DOJ officials.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson, David Spunt and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Source URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/judge-orders-doj-unseal-redacted-trump-mar-a-lago-affidavit-by-friday-at-noon

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