Mar-a-Lago affidavit: Judge to decide if key Trump document is unsealed

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WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — A federal judge Thursday will hear arguments over whether or not to disclose the affidavit central to last week’s FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, where agents have said that they recovered several boxes of classified government material.

A A Justice Department official told the judge the investigation is “open and at an early stage”. By unlocking the document now, the government says, “it would provide a roadmap and suggest the next investigative steps we are about to take.”

Attorneys for several media outlets, including The Washington Post, have argued that the affidavit should be made public given the “historic importance” of the Justice Department’s investigation.

“Transparency serves the public interest in understanding and accepting the results. That’s good for the government and for the courts,” media lawyer Charles Tobin said in court on Thursday. “You can’t trust what you can’t see.”

Trump wants Mar-a-Lago affidavit released as some aides ponder risks

Trump has denounced the investigation as politically motivated, saying on social media this week that he believes the document should be unsealed without editing “in the interest of TRANSPARENCY.”

However, his lawyers have not filed a formal petition with the court expressing such a position. Trump attorney Christina Bobb appeared in court on Thursday and said she was present to follow the proceedings.

Jay Bratt, head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control division, is arguing for the government’s case to a series of lawyers representing the news media. Bratt has been heavily involved in the investigation and visited Mar-a-Lago in June to examine the materials Trump had stored there. The Counter-Intelligence and Expert Control Section leads investigations into leaks of government secrets.

Bratt said releasing the affidavit would endanger the well-being of the witnesses named in the document and have a chilling effect on others “who may come forward and cooperate with the government’s investigation.”

“The government is very concerned about the safety of the witnesses,” Bratt said.

Former Justice Department officials closely following the case have said the affidavit is unlikely to contain “good” information for the former president and, as The Post reported earlier this week, Trump’s advisers had failed to reach a consensus on the matter. whether the disclosure is in his best interest.

Law enforcement officers submit such documents to a judge as part of their search warrant application. Affidavits typically contain information about why authorities believe there is evidence at a particular property and other details about their investigation.

It has become the latest flashpoint in the federal authorities’ ongoing criminal investigation over Trump’s dispute with the National Archives over material taken from the White House last year as his term expired.

Late last week, Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart — with the approval of the Department of Justice — unlocked the search warrant and inventory listing detailed descriptions of the classified material federal agents say recovered from Mar-a-Lago, the former presidential club and residence in South Florida.

Ministry of Justice opposes release of Mar-a-Lago . affidavit

Legal experts said the Justice Department’s reluctance to publish the document is consistent with how the agency typically conducts investigations and that it would be highly unusual for a judge to fully release the documents during an ongoing investigation.

People who have consulted with Trump in recent days said the former president believes any information made public about the investigation into his handling of classified material will startle his supporters, ultimately benefiting him politically.

But others in Trump’s orbit fear that such a move could backfire because they don’t know exactly what it entails.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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