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JUSTICE DEPT. OPPOSES RELEASE OF MAR-A-LAGO AFFIDAVIT

..Media outlets have asked a judge to unseal the document, which probably includes key details about the FBI’s decision to search former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence


The Justice Department on Monday asked a judge to keep sealed the sworn affidavit underpinning last week’s extraordinary FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence, a document thought to hold key details about the government’s investigation into the potential mishandling of classified materials.

MAR-A-LAGO


Monday’s court filing was made in response to requests from multiple media outlets, including The Washington Post, seeking the affidavit’s public release. Law enforcement officials submit such documents to a judge as part of their application for a search warrant. Affidavits typically contain information addressing why authorities think there is evidence at a certain property and other details about an investigation, including sometimes the identities of witnesses.

The Justice Department argued that releasing the affidavit could hamper its investigation and potentially harm those involved.


“Even when the public is already aware of the general nature of the investigation, revealing the specific contents of a search warrant affidavit could alter the investigation’s trajectory, reveal ongoing and future investigative efforts, and undermine agents’ ability to collect evidence or obtain truthful testimony,” the 13-page filing states. “In addition to the implications for the investigation, the release of this type of investigative material could have ‘devastating consequences’ for the reputations and rights of individuals whose actions and statements are described.”

Agents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago seized 11 sets of classified documents, court filing shows

Trump and other Republicans have claimed that the search was politically motivated. The former president has lashed out at law enforcement in response and suggested that the FBI planted evidence, though he has not offered information to support those claims.

A judge on Friday agreed to unseal the court-approved search warrant and an inventory detailing the 11 sets of classified documents retrieved last week from Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club and residence in Palm Beach. The documents also identify what federal laws officials suspect may have been violated.


The former president said before the judge’s decision to unseal the warrant and inventory list that he favored releasing those documents. He and his legal team have not publicly taken a stance on unsealing the affidavit specifically.

Media outlets seeking its release have argued in court filings that documents related to the FBI’s search should be made public due to the “historic importance of these events.”

The Post noted in its filing that the Justice Department requested last week that parts of the search warrant filings be released because of the public’s “clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred in these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing.”


“Before the events of this week, not since the Nixon Administration had the federal government wielded its power to seize records from a former President in such a public fashion,” The Post argued in court documents. The newspaper is joined in its motion by CNN, NBC News and Scripps.

The Justice Department’s filing on Monday arrives as federal law enforcement agents experience an uptick in threats following the Mar-a-Lago search. While the court released a redacted version of the warrant last week, at least one conservative news outlet published the names of the agents who executed the warrant. The risk of violence has prompted the FBI to erect barricades around its downtown D.C. headquarters.

The Trump search warrant focuses on classified information. What you need to know.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on Friday issued a joint intelligence bulletin to its employees warning of “violent threats” against federal law enforcement, courts, government personnel and facilities in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago search, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Post.

The chatter observed on social media is said to include a threat to place a bomb outside FBI headquarters and general calls for “civil war” and “armed rebellion,” the bulletin states.

The Post reported last week that among the materials FBI agents were seeking to retrieve from Mar-a-Lago were classified documents about nuclear weapons. People familiar with the investigation did not offer additional details, such as whether the documents being sought involved weapons belonging to the United States or another nation.

(With input from Agencies)



Published By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka

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