The Justice Department said in a new court filing on Monday that it opposed an effort by several media organizations, including ABC News, to unseal the affidavit in support of the now public search warrant for the estate. of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.
“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing police investigation that involves national security, that support the retention of the sealed affidavit,” the filing said.
In a footnote, department officials write that they “carefully considered” whether they could release the affidavit with redactions, but the redactions necessary to “mitigate damage to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text meaningless in content, and the publication of such a redacted version would serve no public interest.”
However, if the investigating judge were to order the partial unsealing of the affidavit, “the government respectfully requests the possibility of providing the Court with proposed deletions”.
The department also says it has no objection to the unsealing of other documents filed under the search warrant, “the unsealing of which would not jeopardize the integrity of this national security investigation,” but with minor redactions to protect government personnel. These would be “cover sheets associated with the Search Warrant Application, the Government’s Motion to Seal and the Court’s Sealing Order.
The government filed them under seal and is asking the court to unseal them.
Further explaining their request to keep the underlying affidavit sealed, prosecutors note that it would “serve as a road map for the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, d ‘in a manner that is very likely to jeopardize future stages of the investigation’.
They briefly detail some of the information contained in the affidavit which was reviewed by Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, noting that “it contains, among other critically important and detailed investigative facts: extremely sensitive information about witnesses , including witnesses interviewed by the government; investigative techniques; and information required by law to be kept sealed” under grand jury rules.
“Furthermore, witness information is particularly sensitive given the high-profile nature of this case and the risk that revealing the identity of witnesses could impact their willingness to cooperate with the investigation,” prosecutors note. , highlighting stories about an increase in threats. to the police who followed the search of Mar-a-Lago.
“Disclosure of the government affidavit at this stage would also likely impede future cooperation of witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,” indicates the folder. “The fact that this investigation involves highly classified documents further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the potential for harm if information is released to the public prematurely or inappropriately.”
The unsealing could also impact the civil liberties of those whose actions are detailed in the underlying affidavit, prosecutors said.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.