A federal judge in Florida ordered the Justice Department to release the redacted affidavit that led to the extraordinary raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ruled the redacted affidavit be made public no later than noon Friday. Reinhart indicated earlier that he was inclined to release the affidavit, writing Monday that it would “promote public understanding of historically significant events.”
Thursday, the judge wrote, “The government has met its burden of showing that its proposed redactions are narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the continuing investigation and are the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire affidavit,” after reviewing the government sealed submission.
The Wall Street Journal reported the release of a redacted version is the first step in the public learning more about the unprecedented actions of law enforcement.
Several advocacy groups and numerous media outlets, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, members of congress, along with Trump and his allies, called to make it public.
During the hearing last week, Jay Bratt, chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export-control section, said the affidavit is “very detailed and reasonably lengthy.” However, he also noted that the “national-security overtones” outweighed the public interest.
However, Reinhart rejected the government’s effort to keep the document entirely sealed.
“Particularly given the intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President’s residence, the Government hasn’t yet shown that these administrative concerns are sufficient to justify sealing,” Judge Reinhart wrote in the order, setting a Thursday deadline.