Federal Judge orders Justice Dept. to release redacted Mar-a-Lago search affidavit by Friday

On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that the Justice Department must release a redacted version of the warrant affidavit for the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered the public release of the affidavit by noon Friday.

Judge Reinhart ordered the Justice Department to send him proposed redactions last week for the document by Thursday. The department said unsealing the document would compromise the investigation into Trump’s handling of potentially classified documents that he took with him to his Palm Beach, Fla., residence when he left the White House. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said releasing the affidavit would reveal probable cause that led prosecutors to believe a crime had been committed, and that evidence might be found at Mar-a-Lago.

On Thursday, Reinhart said the Justice Department convinced him that portions of the affidavit should remain sealed because “disclosure would reveal (1) the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties, (2) the investigation’s strategy direction, scope, sources, and methods, and (3) grand jury information.”  He added: “I further find that the government has met its burden showing that its proposed redactions are narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation and are the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire affidavit.”

Editorial credit: Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

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