Last Updated on August 18, 2022
Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the warrant for the former president’s Mar-A-Lago property, has ruled that the affidavit backing up the search warrant must be partially disclosed. Former president Trump has called for the affidavit to be fully unsealed while the Biden DOJ has requested the opposite, arguing that full disclosure could damage their investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents.
Judge Reinhart scheduled a hearing on the matter, which took place Thursday afternoon. The judge — who represented a number of high-profile Jeffrey Epstein associates during his time as a trial lawyer — ultimately ruled in favor of partial disclosure.
Reinhart said that while he’s “not prepared to find the affidavit should be fully sealed… there are portions of it that could, at least, presumptively be unsealed,” NBC News reported. He has given the Department of Justice one week to submit a redacted version of the affidavit that can be unsealed and disclosed to the public.
The government has until noon of August 25 to submit their redactions, which will then be reviewed by Judge Reinhart before release. “I will issue a judgment accordingly,” the judge added.
Judge Reinhart gives the government until Thursday, August 25, 12pm ET, to provide proposed redactions to the probable cause affidavit. The Judge will then review the redactions – be them full or partial.
“I will issue a judgment accordingly,” the federal judge adds.
— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) August 18, 2022
The Department of Justice had previously unsealed the search warrant that led to the August 8 raid, though they wanted the affidavit to remain fully sealed. Days after the raid, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he personally signed off on the raid and confirmed that the FBI was investigating Trump over handling of classified documents.
The Justice Department soon filed a motion in court to release the FBI’s property receipt of the 28 inventory items federal agents seized. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart agreed to make the search warrant public the next day.
Despite the supposed national security threat posed by Trump’s storage of supposedly classified documents at Mar-A-Lago, Merrick Garland deliberated for weeks over whether to OK the raid. “The decision had been the subject of weeks of meetings between senior Justice Department and FBI officials, the people said,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “The warrant allowed agents last Monday to seize classified information and other presidential material from Mar-a-Lago.”
It is unknown what the documents in question pertain to at this time. Corporate media outlets have speculated that they involve nuclear secrets, a claim former President Trump has vehemently denied.