A federal judge, Bruce Reinhart of the Southern District in Florida, said he would likely unseal “parts” of the affidavit that led to the FBI raid at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last week.
“I’m not prepared to find that the affidavit should be fully sealed,” said Reinhart, as he gave the Department of Justice a week to suggest what portions should remain sealed.
After carefully reviewing the affidavit multiple times, the judge said in his view, “there are portions of this affidavit that can be unsealed.”
During the hour-long hearing, Jay Bratt, chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control section, informed the judge that the matters of “national-security overtones” outweighed the public interest in having it made public. The Justice Department’s argument focused on the document providing a “roadmap” to their ongoing investigation, citing witnesses’ cooperation as a casualty of public availability of the document.
Multiple advocacy groups and media outlets petitioned the court to make the affidavit public, which Trump, his legal team and supporters had also called for.
It may be some time before the public sets their eyes on the redacted document that details the evidence that established “probable cause” for the raid. Reinhart said he would access the proposed redactions and give the government time to appeal his ruling on which one’s were justified before the records were released.