Justice Department Releases Redacted Mar-A-Lago Affidavit
A federal judge told the Justice Department on Thursday that it must release the redacted search warrant affidavit used by the FBI to search former President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago residence earlier this month by Friday at noon.
The Justice Department, which opened an investigation into Trump’s possible mishandling of classified White House documents back in February, submitted the redacted copy to Judge Bruce Reinhart and he accepted their redactions.
The affidavit, which normally stays sealed until the investigation is closed, revealed the Justice Department’s argument for probable cause that crimes were committed.
The Justice Department has expressed concerns about releasing even a redacted version of the affidavit, saying that if the information is made public, it could have a “chilling effect” on the case.
Judge Reinhart acknowledged that the government presented solid reasoning to redact portions of the affidavit as “disclosure would reveal (1) the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties, (2) the investigation’s strategy, direction, scope, sources, and methods, and (3) grand jury information protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure.”
The probe into Trump’s documents began in February when the National Archives called on the Justice Department to look into the potential mishandling of classified White House documents by Trump to see if he violated the law after finding that 15 boxes of classified White House records had been taken to his Florida estate.
Under the Presidential Records Act, presidents are required to preserve and turn in all memos, letters, emails and papers that they touched to the National Archives at the end of their term.