Several different controversies have erupted from the unprecedented FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, including the involvement of the magistrate judge who signed off on the search warrant that authorized that raid.
The conservative group Tea Party Patriots Action has filed a formal complaint of judicial misconduct against U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart that seeks his removal from all matters related to the FBI Trump raid, if not the bench altogether, due to his alleged “unethical and prejudicial conduct,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Documented in the complaint were allegations and evidence that Reinhart has displayed his bias against Trump through social media posts and political donations, had previously recused himself from a separate case involving Trump, and had previously been the subject of complaints over unethical behavior.
Alleged unethical conduct
The complaint, filed by Tea Party Patriots Action leader Jenny Beth Martin, straightforwardly accused Reinhart of “unethical and prejudicial conduct” in this particular case due to the fact that he has a “conflict of interest and a pattern and history of hostility to President Trump.”
Martin detailed how Reinhart had previously made social media posts in which he “publicly denigrated” then-President Trump and pointed out how the judge had appropriately recused himself just a couple of months ago from a lawsuit between Trump and his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. Further, Reinhart’s Democratic political affiliation and donations were duly noted
The complaint also referenced how Reinhart had been hit with ethics complaints in 2008 after he abruptly quit his job at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami to then take a job the very next day as a defense attorney for employees of the late Jeffrey Epstein, who was being investigated and prosecuted by that same U.S. Attorney’s Office at that time.
Reinhart clearly a “partisan” who should be “disciplined and removed”
Martin asserted, “Clearly, Judge Reinhart is a partisan and has publicly expressed his partisan views against former President Trump. His antipathy for the former President is such that he should have recused when presented with the search warrant for the highly problematic search of President Trump’s home in Florida.”
“Judge Reinhart should be disciplined and removed as a federal magistrate because of his failure to meet the standards of ethical conduct and character necessary for the public to have confidence in the nonpartisan role of a judge in a matter of this extreme public interest,” she continued.
The complaint concluded, “The entire episode of the unprecedented search of the former President’s home, authorized by a political appointee of President Trump’s successor, and approved by a federal magistrate who has been outspoken in his opposition to and loathing of President Trump threatens the principle of ‘equal justice under law’ and the confidence of the American people in an unbiased judiciary.”
A formal complaint starts the process for discipline and removal
In an exclusive statement provided to the Daily Caller, Martin said, “‘Equal justice under the law’ is one of the foundational principles of America’s legal system. President Trump was denied that basic legal protection when Judge Reinhart approved the warrant on Trump’s residence.”
“Judge Reinhart should have recused himself because he clearly had a conflict of interest. He publicly denigrated Trump in social media posts and donated to Democrat politicians, among other things,” she added. “Judge Reinhart should be disciplined and removed. The complaint Tea Party Patriots Action filed against Judge Reinhart can get that process started.”
The complaint was filed with the Judicial Council of the Eleventh Circuit, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, under which Reinhart serves.