A US judge has partially granted a request to unseal an affidavit underpinning Former US President Donald Trump’s Mar a Lago raid at his home in Florida till Friday noon.
“[I]t is ordered that: 1. The Intervenors’ Motion to Unseal [ECF No. 4] is granted in part. 2. On or before noon Eastern time on Friday, August 26, 2022, the Government shall file in the public docket a version of the Affidavit containing the redactions proposed in ECF No. 89-1,” the order said, according to Al Jazeera. US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered the redacted document’s release by noon (16:00 GMT) on Friday underpinned the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home earlier this month.
Reinhart’s order apparently came on Thursday, just hours after a Justice Department spokesman confirmed that prosecutors had submitted a sealed copy of its affidavit with proposed redactions to the judge.
“The Justice Department had valid reasons to keep some of the document secret, including the need to protect the identities of witnesses and federal agents, as well as the government’s investigation and strategy and grand jury material,” Reinhart said.
“The government has met its burden of showing that its proposed redactions are narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation and are the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire affidavit,” he wrote in Thursday’s order.
However, the US government has argued that releasing the affidavit would compromise its ongoing probe, revealing information about witnesses and potential next steps to be taken by investigators and prosecutors. The former president also called on social media platforms for the affidavit to be unsealed, though his lawyers had not weighed in on the matter till now, Al Jazeera reported.
Notably, the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago residence earlier this month using a search warrant that listed potential violations of the Espionage Act involving mishandling of classified materials as a reason for the raid. A federal judge is currently determining whether to release parts of an affidavit that backed the search warrant.
Trump has condemned the raid as a weaponization of the US justice system against him and claimed to have properly stored and declassified sensitive materials kept at Mar-a-Lago, Sputnik reported.
The FBI seized 11 sets of classified records during the search of former US President Donald J Trump’s Florida property Mar-a-Lago during the early weeks of August, including some materials marked as “top secret/sensitive compartmented information”.
The judge authorized the FBI to search what the bureau called the “45 Office” as well as “all other rooms or areas” at Mar-a-Lago that were available to former President Trump and his staff for storing boxes and documents.
The search warrant identified three possible federal crimes as the reasoning behind the search: violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and criminal handling of government records.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home which is a mansion with approximately 58 bedrooms, and 33 bathrooms, on a 17-acre estate in Palm Beach, Florida on August 8.