Court Rejects Biden DOJ Effort to Keep Trump Warrant Affidavit Completely Sealed

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Democrat Joe Biden and his Department of Justice (DOJ) had a powerful smackdown of their perceived authority after the apparently politically motivated FBI raid on the family home of President Donald J. Trump last week, and the smackdown came from a federal court that gave the FBI the permission to carry out the raid in the first place.

A government watchdog group of citizen investigators, Judicial Watch, did a victory lap in a press statement about their actions which forced the hand of the shady DOJ which was trying to deny the American people the transparency into government agencies that is Constitutionally protected for citizens.

“Media organizations have requested to see the affidavit that prompted a judge to grant a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago house, and now they have their answer,” Carmine Sabia reported for Conservative Brief.

US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart says he will unseal some of the procedural filings currently under seal on the search warrant docket.

“I am not prepared to find that the affidavit should be fully sealed,” the judge said, meaning that, at minimum, some of the affidavits will be revealed.

“According to the judge’s comments, the filings are the Department of Justice’s motion to seal the warrant documents, the order granting that sealing request, and the criminal cover sheet,” CNN reported.

According to a press statement from the group, they are not stopping at just the affidavit; they want even more information released:

Judicial Watch Victory: Court Rejects Biden DOJ Effort to Keep Trump Warrant Affidavit Completely Sealed

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart’s decision granting Judicial Watch’s request to unseal at least part of the affidavit and other materials used to justify the unprecedented raid on former President Trump’s home:

Judicial Watch achieved a key court victory today over the Biden Justice Department’s desperate move to keep the Trump warrant affidavit completely sealed. The court outright rejected the Justice Department’s brazen play to keep the whole document secret. The Biden administration’s unprecedented and abusive raid on Trump’s home has created a rule of law crisis that can only be alleviated with transparency and accountability. And, we’re thrilled that Americans will get more of both with today’s court decision, finding that at least some more information about this terrible raid should be released.

James Moon of the Meland Budwick, P.A. law firm in Miami argued on behalf of Judicial Watch. After the hearing in West Palm Beach, FL, today, the court issued an order which stated:

As I ruled from the bench at the conclusion of the hearing, I find that on the present record, the Government has not met its burden of showing that the entire affidavit should remain sealed. It is ORDERED that by noon EST on Thursday, August 25, 2022, the Government shall file under seal its proposed redactions along with a legal memorandum setting forth the justification for the proposed redactions.

The court also ordered the release of other documents concerning the warrant.

On August 9, Judicial Watch filed its motion asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to unseal as soon as possible the search warrant materials used by the FBI to raid President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida (U.S. v. Sealed Search Warrant (Case No. 9:22-mj-08332)).

On August 11, the DOJ filed a motion offering to unseal certain warrant materials.

On August 12, Judicial Watch Judicial Watch filed President Trump’s public statement with the court, in which he made it clear that he would not oppose the release of documents related to the August 8, 2022, raid. Later that day, the DOJ made a partial release of the Trump raid warrant materials.

Initially, the Albany Times Union and the New York Times joined Judicial Watch in filing for the unsealing of the warrant by filing an amicus letter and motion, respectively. Other interests later joined in the effort.

The Justice Department was ordered by Magistrate Judge Reinhart to respond by August 15 to Judicial Watch’s Motion to Unseal the warrant and supporting materials behind the FBI raid. In its filing, the Justice Department alleged that releasing the affidavit would “cause significant and irreparable damage” to its ongoing criminal investigation.

On August 17, Judicial Watch submitted its reply to the DOJ’s effort to keep under seal the affidavit used to justify the controversial raid on the home of former President Trump. Judicial Watch cited former President Trump’s support for the release of the affidavit.

“Jay Bratt, a Justice Department lawyer, argued that allowing the public to read the affidavit would “provide a roadmap to the investigation” and would indicate the next steps in the probe.

“In this case, the court has found probable cause there’s a violation of one of the obstruction statutes, and that evidence of obstruction would be found at Mar-a-Lago” said Jay Bratt, who heads the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section,” Sabia wrote.

The “public has a ‘clear and powerful’ interest in understanding the unprecedented investigation in former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified records,” the media organizations including CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post reported.

The Department of Justice has argued that the affidavit should stay sealed.

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