Judge who reportedly approved Mar-a-Lago search warrant was linked to Epstein, donated to Obama

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart represented employees of Jeffrey Epstein after leaving the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Updated: August 9, 2022 - 11:19pm

The federal judge who reportedly approved the FBI's search warrant for former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate was linked with Jeffrey Epstein and donated to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign for president and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort was raided by the FBI on Monday, reportedly for classified documents that he took with him after leaving the White House. Reporting that his home was "under siege," the former president said, "Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before."

The FBI raid was conducted after a sealed search warrant was reportedly signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart.

Reinhart was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida from 1996 to 2008, before leaving his position to become a trial lawyer in private practice and represent employees of Epstein, according to the Miami Herald.

He told the outlet that "he never represented Epstein — only Epstein's pilots; his scheduler, Sarah Kellen; and Nadia Marcinkova, described by some victims as Epstein's sex slave."

In a 2011 Crime Victims' Rights Act lawsuit, Reinhart was accused of violating the Department of Justice's policies regarding switching sides, with the implication that he used information he learned from the DOJ to win favor with Epstein, the Herald reported.

Reinhart denied the accusation in a sworn declaration, saying that he "never learned any confidential, non-public information about the Epstein matter."

Two years later, however, his former supervisors from the U.S. Attorney's Office contradicted him, saying that "while Bruce E. Reinhart was an assistant U.S. attorney, he learned confidential, non-public information about the Epstein matter."

Reinhart told the Herald that he didn't recall learning anything about Epstein's criminal case.

"Even assuming I had participated 'personally and substantially' in the Epstein investigation [which I did not], the relevant Department of Justice regulations only prohibited me from communicating with, or appearing before, the United States on behalf of Mr. Epstein," he said in an email.

Reinhart declined to tell the outlet whether Epstein had paid him for representing several of the convicted sex offender's accused coconspirators.

A complaint was also filed against Reinhart by an attorney for Epstein's victims, former Utah federal judge Paul Cassell, who alleged that Reinhart committed perjury in his affidavit. Reinhart said that the complaint was dismissed after being investigated by the Justice Department, according to the Herald.

Reinhart became a federal magistrate judge in 2018 after the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida selected him from a narrowed-down pool of candidates who had applied for the position.

As of Tuesday, Reinhart's webpage is no longer accessible on the district court's website, which instead displays a message reading: "Access denied. You are not authorized to access this page." However, all the other magistrate judges' pages are available.

According to Wayback Machine screenshots, Reinhart's page was still accessible around 12:30 p.m. EDT but was inaccessible by about 2 p.m. EDT.

The district court didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday evening.

While he was working in private practice, Reinhart donated to $1,000 to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and another $1,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, the campaign's fundraising arm. He also donated $500 to Bush's 2016 presidential campaign.