Justice Department ordered release of Mar-a-Lago’s redacted search warrant affidavit

The affidavit explains why investigators believe there was probable cause that the crimes were committed. The warrant authorized the FBI to search former President Donald Trump’s home and private club earlier this month.

Earlier Thursday, the DOJ submitted its drafting proposals to U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who issued the release order.

Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said: “The United States has filed a sealed submission pursuant to the Court’s order of August 22. The Department of Justice respectfully declines further comment for a period of time. let the Court consider the matter.”

Justice Department prosecutors have stressed that they need continued secrecy so as not to disrupt the ongoing criminal investigation, especially as they maintain the secrecy of grand jury activities and protect witnesses who have or could share information.

In his order, Reinhart said the Justice Department convinced him that portions of the affidavit should remain sealed because “disclosure would reveal (1) the identities of witnesses, law enforcement officers and of the unindicted parties, (2) strategy, focus, scope of the investigation, sources, and methods, and (3) information about the grand jury.”

He concluded that the DOJ had discharged “its burden of showing that its proposed redactions are closely tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation and provide the least onerous alternative for seal the entire affidavit”.

News organizations call on judge to unseal DOJ brief dealing with redactions

Shortly after the submission of the DOJ’s sealed documents on the redactions, a conglomeration of media companies, including CNN, filed an application with the judge asking to unseal the Justice Department file dealing with the redactions.

The media said the file should be made public with all necessary redactions to protect the ongoing investigation. Additionally, the media companies asked the judge to order that in the future, any documents the Justice Department files under seal in the transparency dispute also be filed publicly with appropriate redactions.

“As this Court has also recognized, there is little point in maintaining secrecy with respect to the facts of the investigation which the government has already publicly confirmed to be accurate,” the media request reads.

At a minimum, the media argued, “all parts of the record that list those facts about the investigation, without revealing others that are not yet publicly available – in addition to any other parts that do not constitute a threat to the investigation – should be unsealed.”

“If and when additional facts come to light and are confirmed to be accurate, or if certain facts no longer pose a threat to the investigation for any other reason, there is also no justification for keeping them under seal,” the media wrote. “Furthermore, all legal arguments contained in government documents must be made public, even if some of the facts recounted by the government remain under seal.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

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