Judge orders the unsealing of the affidavit behind the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid

Fox News reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has decided to allow the partial unsealing of the affidavit regarding the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate.  

A hearing on this very topic – whether to publicly release the affidavit – was held on Wednesday.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) made several arguments against the unsealing of the affidavit, including that it would “provide a roadmap” of the DOJ’s investigation of Trump, that it could be dangerous given the “volatile” state of the country, and that it could have a chilling effect on witness participation in the investigation.

Reinhart, though, wasn’t convinced by the government’s arguments.

Reinhart’s decision

Reinhart decided that the DOJ, during the hearing, failed to meet its burden of showing that the entire affidavit ought to remain sealed.

He said:

I find that on the present record the Government has not met its burden of showing that the entire affidavit should remain sealed. It is ORDERED that by noon EST on Thursday, August 25, 2022, the Government shall file under seal its proposed redactions along with a legal memorandum setting forth the justification for the proposed redactions. It is further ordered that ECF No. 57 shall be unsealed by the Clerk of Court. Done and ordered in Chambers at West Palm Beach, Florida this 18th day of August, 2022.

It is believed that the application for the warrant, the motion to seal, and the cover sheet, among other documents related to the Mar-a-Lago raid, will all be unsealed. But, they will have redactions.

Ultimately, it will be Reinhart who decides how much of the documents will be redacted. It will, though, be possible for interested parties to appeal his decision.

Trump responds

A spokesperson for former President Trump released a statement following Reinhart’s decision.

“President Trump has made clear his view that the American people should be permitted to see the unredacted affidavit related to the raid and break-in of his home, Mar-a-Lago,” the statement reads.

It continues:

Today, magistrate Judge Reinhart rejected the DOJ’s cynical attempt to hide the whole affidavit from Americans. No redactions should be necessary and the whole affidavit should be released, given the Democrats’ penchant for using redactions to hide government corruption, just like they did with the Russia hoax.

It is unclear when the redacted documents will be released. We should have a better understanding by the end of next week after Reinhart makes his decision about the redactions.

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