UNITED STATES NEWS

Judge appears willing to unveil some of Mar-a-Lago affidavit

Aug 18, 2022, 6:39 AM | Updated: Aug 19, 2022, 1:00 pm
A vehicle with flags in support of Donald Trump drives outside of the Paul G. Rogers Federal Courth...

A vehicle with flags in support of Donald Trump drives outside of the Paul G. Rogers Federal Courthouse, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Attorneys for the nation's largest media companies are presenting their case before a federal magistrate judge to make public the affidavit supporting the warrant that allowed FBI agents to search former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to put forward proposed redactions as he committed to making public at least part of the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said that under the law, it is the government’s burden to show why a redacted version should not be released and prosecutors’ arguments Thursday failed to persuade him. He gave them a week to submit a copy of the affidavit proposing the information it wants to keep secret after the FBI seized classified and top secret information during a search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last week.

The hearing was convened after several news organizations, including The Associated Press, sought to unseal additional records tied to last week’s search, including the affidavit. It is likely to contain key details about the Justice Department’s investigation examining whether Trump retained and mishandled classified and sensitive government records.

The Justice Department has adamantly opposed making any portion of the affidavit public, arguing that doing so would compromise its ongoing investigation, would expose the identities of witnesses and could prevent others from coming forward and cooperating with the government.

The attorneys for the news organizations, however, argued that the unprecedented nature of the Justice Department’s investigation warrants public disclosure.

“You can’t trust what you can’t see,” said Chuck Tobin, a lawyer representing the AP and several other news outlets.

In addition to ordering the redactions, the judge agreed to make public other documents, including the warrant’s cover sheet, the Justice Department’s motion to seal the documents and the judge’s order requiring them to be sealed.

Those documents showed the FBI was specifically investigating the “willful retention of national defense information,” the concealment or removal of government records and obstruction of a federal investigation.

Jay Bratt, a top Justice Department national security prosecutor, had argued that the affidavit should remain hidden from the public. Unsealing it, he said, would provide a “road map” of the investigation — which is in its “early stages” — and expose the next steps to be taken by federal agents and prosecutors.

He argued it was in the public interest for the investigation, including interviews of witnesses, to go forward unhindered.

As the hearing kicked off, a small caravan of vehicles with Trump flags drove past the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach, Florida. An attorney for Trump, Christina Bobb, was in the courthouse Thursday but said she was only there to observe the court proceeding.

Bratt argued in court that even a redacted version of the document could reveal investigative steps or create the ability for sleuths or those being eyed in the investigation to identify witnesses in the case. He also contended that the Justice Department had already gone to rare lengths to bring transparency, including making a request for the court to unseal the warrant and property receipt, which were made public last week.

“There is heightened interest,” he conceded. “This is likely an unprecedented situation.”

Trump, in a Truth Social post last week, called for the release of the unredacted affidavit in the interest of transparency.

Reinhart gave the government until next Thursday to submit its version with the proposed redactions along with written arguments for each, going line by line. He said he would then review the proposal and make his own proposed redactions and then may meet with government lawyers to give them a final argument for why specific information should be withheld.

Justice Department attorneys have argued in court filings that the investigation into Trump’s handling of “highly classified material” is ongoing and that the document contains sensitive information about witnesses.

A recent filing by Bratt and Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the U.S. attorney in Miami, says making the affidavit public would “cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”

“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” they wrote.

FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Aug. 8, removing 11 sets of classified documents, with some not only marked top secret but also “sensitive compartmented information,” according to a receipt of what was taken that was released Friday. That is a special category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets that if revealed publicly could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to U.S. interests. The court records did not provide specific details about information the documents might contain.

___

Balsamo reported from New York.

___

More on Donald Trump-related investigations: https://apnews.com/hub/donald-trump

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

FILE - The recently closed Savannah Medical Clinic, which provided abortions for four decades in Sa...
Associated Press

At least 66 US clinics have halted abortions, institute says

At least 66 clinics in 15 states have stopped providing abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to an analysis released Thursday. The number of clinics providing abortions in the 15 states dropped from 79 before the June 24 decision to 13 as of Oct. 2, according to the Guttmacher Institute, […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: October 6, the launch of Instagram

Today in History Today is Thursday, Oct. 6, the 279th day of 2022. There are 86 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 6, 1973, war erupted in the Middle East as Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel during the Yom Kippur holiday. (Israel, initially caught off guard, […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Former Uber security chief guilty of data breach coverup

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The former chief security officer for Uber was convicted Wednesday of trying to cover up a 2016 data breach in which hackers accessed tens of millions of customer records from the ride-hailing service. A federal jury in San Francisco convicted Joseph Sullivan of obstructing justice and concealing knowledge that a federal […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Herschel Walker, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate for Georgia, speaks at a primary watch...
Associated Press

Report: Mom of Walker’s child says he paid for her abortion

ATLANTA (AP) — A woman who said Herschel Walker paid for her 2009 abortion is the mother of one of his children, according to a new report Wednesday, undercutting the Georgia Republican Senate candidate’s claims that he didn’t know who she was. The Daily Beast, which first reported Monday on the abortion, said it had […]
21 hours ago
A protester is hit by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Takkarist McKinley, middle left, and linebacke...
Associated Press

Protester subdued by Rams’ Wagner files police report

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — A protester who ran onto the field during the San Francisco 49ers’ Monday night home game against the Rams has filed a police report after being subdued by Los Angeles linebacker Bobby Wagner. Santa Clara Police Department Lt. Cuong Phan confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the department […]
21 hours ago
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice-chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack o...
Associated Press

Liz Cheney says Arizona GOP candidates threaten democracy

PHOENIX (AP) — Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney on Wednesday said the Republican candidates for Arizona governor and secretary of state pose a huge risk for democracy because both say they will refuse to certify election results if they don’t like the results. Cheney, a prominent critic of former President Donald Trump and one of just […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Judge appears willing to unveil some of Mar-a-Lago affidavit