Florida judge REJECTS bid by Biden administration to keep entire Mar-a-Lago sealed and calls Trump’s attack “unprecedented,” but says full release could lead to obstruction and intimidation of witnesses.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart issued an order on the government’s motion to dismiss The media wants to reveal the affidavit that provides the reasons for the order On Thursday, the judge told the DOJ to prepare a redacted version of the affidavit The document contains information about Mar-a-Lago The government argues that it could impede the investigation and reveal witnesses
The federal judge considering the push to unseal the affidavit that bolstered the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago issued an order Monday rejecting the government’s push to keep the entire document sealed and reveal their inclination to make at least some of the information public. .
Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart in his new order rejects the government’s argument that “the present record warrants keeping the entire affidavit under seal.”
Instead, the judge is calling for “narrowly tailoring” what is made public and seeking “less onerous alternatives,” a stance that could make new information about the government’s investigation public within days.
It came in an order in which the judge, who signed the FBI’s search warrant for parts of the former president’s home and golf club, said there is a “substantial likelihood” that the seal “could impede the ongoing investigation through obstruction of justice and witness intimidation or retaliation.’
It also said it was likely to “harm legitimate privacy interests by directly revealing the identity of the claimant and providing evidence that could be used to identify witnesses.”
A view of the Paul G. Rogers Federal Building and the U.S. Courthouse, before a federal judge holds a hearing on the motion to unseal the search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s home, in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, August 18, 2022. Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart on Monday issued a new order in the case
The judge postponed a final decision last week and told the government to come back with draft proposals for the document.
But he rejected the DOJ’s contention that releasing a redacted version would be essentially meaningless because of all the information that would be blacked out. The DOJ told the court last week that doing so would result in a document “without content that would significantly improve public understanding.”
“I cannot say at this time that the partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in meaningless disclosure, but I may eventually come to that conclusion,” the judge said in the order, covering himself.
The order comes as media organizations pushed a judge to unseal an affidavit that preceded the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.
Former President Donald Trump was outraged by the raid and has issued a series of fundraising appeals citing it. He did not intervene in the matter, the judge noted
The judge issued the order in response to an intervention by the media
An armed Secret Service agent stands outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart told the DOJ to propose the redactions by Thursday
He also said the affidavit in its unredacted form reveals “sources and methods” in the ongoing investigation.
Trump has been reeling since the unprecedented raid, which has also appeared to galvanize Trump against potential Republican rivals while prompting a series of fundraising appeals by the former president.
He noted that “Neither former President Trump nor anyone else purporting to own the premises has filed a pleading to take a position on the comptroller’s motions to disclose the seal,” a stance some observers have noted prevents Trump’s team is at the table. during the dispute over the redactions.