Judge Reinhart delays decision on releasing Trump search warrant affidavit

“It’s absolutely critical to get the affidavit. The affidavit is the foundation. It’s the predicate for the entire search warrant process"

Updated: August 16, 2022 - 4:38pm

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Florida Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart declined to immediately authorize the unsealing of an affidavit accompanying the search warrant the FBI used to raid former President Donald Trump's Florida estate of Mar-a-Lago.

Reinhart, who signed the initial search warrant, instead opted to schedule an Aug. 18 hearing to hear in-person arguments for and against the document's public release, according to the Epoch Times.

Non-profit Judicial Watch filed a motion after the raid seeking to unseal the warrant and its accompanying documents. Reinhart ruled on Aug. 10 that the DOJ must respond to the group's motion. The warrant subsequently became public, though prosecutors from the DOJ asked Reinhart to keep sealed the affidavit.

"If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps," the DOJ argued.

“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," Judicial Watch asserted, per the Times. "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."

“It’s absolutely critical to get the affidavit. The affidavit is the foundation. It’s the predicate for the entire search warrant process,” said Director of Research and Investigation at Judicial Watch Chris Farrell.

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney David X. Sullivan told the Just the News, Not Noise television show last Thursday that most of the supporting information justifying the raid would come from the application and the affidavit rather than the warrant itself.

"[T]he warrant is nice, but really, it's the application and the affidavit in support of that warrant that was brought to the federal magistrate judge that really has all the information," he said.