Judge Formally Rejects DOJ’s Request to Seal Affidavit for FBI’s ‘Unprecedented’ Trump Raid

A judge has called the FBI’s raid on President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home “unprecedented” while formally rejecting the Justice Department’s bid to keep the affidavit leading to the search under seal.

On Monday morning, Judge Bruce Reinhart cited the “intense public and historical interest” in the case as the basis for his ruling.

Reinhart said in a filing that he rejects “the Government’s argument that the present record justifies keeping the entire Affidavit under seal.”

“The Government argues that even requiring it to redact portions of the Affidavit that could not reveal agent identities or investigative sources and methods imposes an undue burden on its resources and sets a precedent that could be disruptive and burdensome in future cases,” Reinhart wrote.

“I do not need to reach the question of whether, in some other case, these concerns could justify denying public access; they very well might.”

He continued: “Particularly given the intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President’s residence, the Government has not yet shown that these administrative concerns are sufficient to justify sealing.

“Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that by the deadline, the Government shall file under seal a submission addressing possible redactions and providing any additional evidence or legal argument that the Government believes relevant to the pending Motions to Unseal,” he said.

“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the Government.

“Given the intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President’s residence, the Government has not yet shown that these administrative concerns are sufficient to justify sealing.

“Given the public notoriety and controversy about this search, it is likely that even witnesses who are not expressly named in the Affidavit would be quickly and broadly identified over social media and other communication channels, which could lead to them being harassed and intimidated,“ he said.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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