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Parts of Trump search warrant affidavit to be unsealed, judge orders

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An aerial view of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home after Trump said that FBI agents raided it, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. August 15, 2022.

Marco Bello | Reuters

A redacted version of the affidavit used to acquire the search warrant that led to the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida home can be unsealed by noon Friday, a federal magistrate judge ordered.

The order Thursday got here hours after the Department of Justice submitted a proposal in U.S District Court for the Southern District of Florida detailing the way it wanted portions of that affidavit kept secret if the document were to be made public. That proposal itself is sealed, making it not possible to know what the DOJ desires to be kept hidden within the search warrant affidavit.

But Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart in his order wrote that he agreed the DOJ “has met its burden” in showing there was a compelling reason to maintain portions of the affidavit out of the general public eye.

Reinhart said the redactions were warranted because disclosure would reveal the identities of law enforcement agents, witnesses, and uncharged parties, in addition to “the investigation’s strategy” and direction, and “grand jury information.”

FBI agents, carrying the warrant issued on the idea of the affidavit, on Aug. 8 raided Trump’s residence at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.

They seized a dozen or so boxes of documents as a part of a criminal investigation of the removal of presidential records from the White House when he left office in January 2021. Lots of those documents were highly classified.

The DOJ probe is eyeing possible obstruction of justice and violations of the U.S. espionage act and the law prohibiting the removal of official records.

By law, presidential records should be given to the National Archives and Records Administration when a president leaves office.

A bunch of media organizations had asked Reinhart to unseal your entire affidavit. That document, like other such affidavits submitted with search warrant applications, would detail why authorities believed there was probable cause that against the law had been committed.

The affidavit also would describe what evidence authorities believed is perhaps on the goal location.

But Reinhart, in his order Thursday, wrote, “I further find that the Government has met its burden of showing that its proposed redactions are narrowly tailored to serve the Government’s legitimate interest within the integrity of the continued investigation and are the least onerous alternative to sealing your entire Affidavit.”

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