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Politics Mar-a-Lago raid: Department of Justice asks court to keep search warrant affidavit sealed citing 'highly sensitive information' about government witnesses, concern for national security

04:00  16 august  2022
04:00  16 august  2022 Source:   businessinsider.com

4 lingering misconceptions about the FBI raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago

  4 lingering misconceptions about the FBI raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago Trumpworld is sowing doubt about what happened during the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. Feds are starting to provide some answers, but confusion reigns.Memories of Mar-a-Lago came flooding back Monday night when the news broke that the FBI had executed a search warrant on Donald Trump's permanent residence.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather near his residence at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on August 9, 2022. Giorgio Viera/Getty Images © Giorgio Viera/Getty Images Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather near his residence at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on August 9, 2022. Giorgio Viera/Getty Images
  • DOJ prosecutors asked the court to keep the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit sealed.
  • The FBI last week executed an unprecedented search warrant at Donald Trump's South Florida resort.
  • But government officials said the affidavit contains "highly sensitive" information related to national security.

Justice Department prosecutors on Monday asked the court to block all efforts to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit, warning that public disclosure of information in it and related documents would "cause significant and irreparable damage" to the ongoing investigation.

Trump said the feds left Melania Trump's closet a 'mess' after executing a search warrant at their Mar-a-Lago home

  Trump said the feds left Melania Trump's closet a 'mess' after executing a search warrant at their Mar-a-Lago home It's unclear if the FBI took any of Melania Trump's belongings, but any clothing worn during official events should have been turned over to the National Archives.Earlier this week, the FBI searched the Trumps' home in Palm Beach, Florida, in an unprecedented search warrant executed against a former president. It's unclear what the FBI was looking for, but several reports linked the search warrant to the National Archives' request early this year for the Justice Department to investigate whether Trump broke the law when he took classified government records with him to Mar-a-Lago.

The DOJ, however, said it would not object to the unsealing of several other related documents in the case, including cover sheets associated with the search warrant application, the government's motion to seal, and the court's sealing order.

The FBI last week executed an unprecedented search warrant on former President Donald Trump's South Florida resort and home, seizing 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were reportedly marked top secret. The raid signifies the increasing legal pressure Trump faces amid a slew of ongoing investigations into the former president.

The government on Friday moved to unseal the search warrant and related documents, inlcuding a summary of the materials retrieved during the search, after Trump himself alerted the world to the raid via a social media message on Monday, August 8 — the day of the search.

Trump talked his way into the DOJ asking for the release of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant

  Trump talked his way into the DOJ asking for the release of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant The DOJ said in a court filing that it decided to request the search warrant's release after Trump announced it and sparked a public firestorm.At a press conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department had taken the unusual step "in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter." The attorney general also confirmed that he personally signed offon the pursuit of a warrant to search Trump's home.

"Those docketed items, which had already been provided to the former President's counsel upon execution of the warrant, have now appropriately been made public," federal prosecutors wrote in a Monday court filing.


Video: DOJ moves to unseal Mar-a-Lago search warrant (MSNBC)

But several news media organizations and other entities have also filed official requests that the court unseal the related affidavit, prosecutors said, a legal document that includes pages of detailed evidence and context previously unseen in the already-released documents.

"There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed," DOJ lawyers wrote.

Prosecutors warned that specific facts revealed in an unsealed warrant affidavit could "act as a roadmap of the ongoing investigation."

A timeline of how the FBI came to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago as part of an Espionage Act probe

  A timeline of how the FBI came to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago as part of an Espionage Act probe Here is a timeline of Trump's dealing with the National Archives, the Department of Justice and missing classified documents. Here is a timeline on the missing Trump papers and how the FBI came to search Mar-a-Lago. Have a tip? Please email us at cdechalus@insider.com and ngaudiano@insider.com. The FBI's search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida follows months of allegations that the former president mishandled government records, including reports of him ripping up documents and photos of notes with handwriting resembling his that he reportedly tried to flush down the toilet.

Trump's announcement that Mar-a-Lago was being searched last week revealed that the DOJ is investigating the former president for possible violations of the Espionage Act. The agency is also zeroing in on Trump in its January 6 investigation.

Prosecutors in the Monday court filing said the government had "carefully considered" whether or not the affidavit could be released with redactions, but determined that the redactions required to protect national security and witnesses would "be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content."

One of the primary concerns in keeping the document sealed, prosecutors argued, is the need to protect "highly sensitive information about witnesses." Revealing specifics about witnesses who spoke to the government in relation to its investigation could also lead future witnesses to forgo cooperation, "knowing that those against whom they testify would be aware of their testimony."

In a footnote, the government noted that concern about witness protection is not merely hypothetical in light of increased threats and violence against law enforcement personnel in the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago raid. The search has reignited conservative calls online for civil war and angered a 42-year-old man who was killed by police after attempting to breach an FBI field office in Cincinnati last week.

Read the original article on Business Insider

DOJ submits redacted Mar-a-Lago search affidavit to judge for possible release .
The Justice Department submitted proposed redactions to the affidavit justifying the search of Donald Trump's Florida estate, to possibly release it.The redactions were filed under seal for U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart to review so nothing about the affidavit is public yet. Reinhart ordered the department a week earlier to draft proposed redactions before he potentially unseals part of the document. The affidavit was used to justify the Aug. 8 search warrant for Mar-a-Lago, which Reinhart authorized.

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