Judge orders Trump search affidavit released with redactions

Judge orders Trump search affidavit released with redactions


Judge orders Trump search affidavit released with redactions

01:19

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the affidavit used to substantiate the search warrant on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence to be unsealed by noon ET Friday with government redactions.

The judge said the government had fulfilled its obligations to justify the redactions. Several media organizations, including CBS News, lobbied for the release of the affidavit. Trump has also publicly called for the release of the affidavit, although his lawyers have not filed any legal proceedings as interested parties.

The Department of Justice presented its redacted version in court. The affidavit likely contains more information about government investigators’ concerns about the documents allegedly held at Mar-a-Lago.

The FBI searched Trump’s primary residence in Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 as part of an investigation into his handling of presidential records since leaving office. On August 12, the the search warrant was unsealedas well as an inventory of seized materials, which included 11 sets of classified documents.

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Residence of former US President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022.

GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images


Earlier this week, Trump and his attorneys have filed a motion before a different judge to have a special master appointed to examine the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago. They argued that the special master – a court-appointed monitor – is necessary to protect the former president’s constitutional rights.

Trump’s lawyers have also asked the Justice Department to provide them with a more detailed account of what the FBI took from his Florida compound and to return any property outside the scope of the law. . Search warrant.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) received 15 boxes of presidential documents from Mar-a-Lago in January. NARA identified more than 100 documents with classification marks — including some identified as Top Secret and protected by sensitive special access programs — after its initial review of those boxes, according to a May letter sent by the archivist by Acting Archives to counsel for the former president.

The National Archives has asked the Department of Justice to look into the matter.

A US official told CBS News earlier this week that investigators closely examine video evidence which they obtained which showed people accessing the area of ​​Trump’s residence where he kept papers – including classified documents.

Mar-a-Lago’s search warrant was approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland and then by Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart on August 5. Reinhart reviewed the affidavit and its references to evidence from the inquests, saying last week that “all information the court relied on is in the affidavit.”

The Justice Department argued that the affidavit should remain sealed, citing the need to “protect the integrity of an ongoing police investigation that involves national security.” Investigative methods and the identities of FBI agents and witnesses are at stake, prosecutors told the judge, and said releasing the affidavit risked chilling future cooperation.

Media organizations had argued that it was necessary to unseal at least parts of the affidavit to help the public understand the Justice Department’s reasons for the search.

Robert Legare contributed to this report.

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