The DOJ is urging a federal judge to keep the Trump search warrant affidavit sealed to protect national security investigation as Judicial Watch does a victory lap over pressure to release details.
Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump asked a judge not to unseal a key document related to the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
The search warrant affidavit contains “highly sensitive information” that could compromise the “ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security,” they wrote in a court filing.
The warrant and property receipt, unsealed last week, indicated that the agents were looking for materials related to three criminal statutes, one of which was part of the Espionage Act.
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding today’s release of the Trump raid warrant materials by the Biden Justice Department:
We’re pleased Judicial Watch legal pressure forced the partial release of warrant materials about the Biden administration’s political raid on the home of former President Trump. Judicial Watch expects and demands the underlying warrant affidavit and other materials be immediately disclosed. The U.S. Constitution and federal law give unreviewable authority to President Trump to take whatever records he wishes at the end of his presidency. The Biden administration’s dishonest depiction of personal records of President Trump it illicitly seized during the raid as “classified” is further demonstration that the raid was a brazen act of raw political abuse.
On August 9, Judicial Watch filed a 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 the Florida home (U.S. v. Sealed Search Warrant (No. 9:22-mj-08332)).
In response to our court filing seeking release of all warrant materials in the FBI raid on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, the Biden Justice Department filed a motion offering to unseal certain warrant materials. President Trump also issued a public statement “ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”
Today, 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.
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.
In its motion Judicial Watch stated:
Judicial Watch is investigating the potential politicization of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice and whether the FBI and the Justice Department are abusing their law enforcement powers to harass a likely future political opponent of President Biden.
The public has an urgent and substantial interest in understanding the predicate for the execution of the unprecedented search warrant of the private residence of a former president and likely future political opponent…. [N]o official explanation or information has been released about the search. As of the filing of this motion, the public record consists solely of speculation and inuendo. In short, the historical presumption of access to warrant materials vastly outweighs any interest the government may have in keeping the materials under seal.
Given the political context, and the highly unusual action of executing a search warrant at the residence of a former President and likely future political opponent, it is essential that the public understands as soon as possible the basis for the government’s action. Any government interest in securing the identities of witnesses and confidential sources, if any, may be addressed by appropriate redactions from the search warrant affidavit.