WEST PALM BEACH, FL – In a move that serves as a blow to the Justice Department’s attempt to keep the investigative information that led up to the raid conducted at Mar-a-Lago earlier in August under wraps, the very magistrate judge who approved the original raid rejected the Justice Department’s argument to keep the affidavit regarding the raid sealed.
On the morning of August 22nd, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart denied the Justice Department’s request to keep the affidavit completely sealed in relation to the Trump raid, noting that he disagrees with “the Government’s argument that the present record justifies keeping the entire Affidavit under seal.”
Reinhart touched on the crux of the Justice Department’s argument that claimed, “…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.”
In the magistrate judge’s opinion, he conceded that he doesn’t “need to reach the question of whether, in some other case, these concerns could justify denying public access; they very well might,” but emphasized that in this particular case, there is too much public interest whilst harboring “an unprecedented” nature overall for the affidavit to remain sealed.
“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.”
Reinhart gave the Justice Department until noon on August 25th to outline what they think should be redacted from the affidavit and to hand over to the court those sought-after redactions and any additional arguments slated against the motion to unseal.
“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.”
The decision handed down by Magistrate Judge Reinhart on August 22nd mirrors his past comments in court from August 18th, where he said that he didn’t believe the government should keep the affidavit that led up to the Mar-a-Lago raid under seal.
Once Reinhart has the proposed redactions in hand on August 25th, he’ll then determine whether to proceed with the redacted version presented by the Justice Department or instead craft his own redactions to the document.
Jay Bratt, who is representing the government in this matter, has argued throughout the ordeal that unsealing the affidavit would “provide a roadmap” to an ongoing investigation that is still amid its early stages. The government prosecutor further parroted mainstream media talking points in his arguments, claiming that the “volatile” state of the nation could pose dangers to FBI agents and possible witnesses were their names to get out.