DOJ Firm Against Unsealing Trump Warrant Affidavit

Unsealing the law enforcement affidavit the FBI used to obtain a search warrant for raiding former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate would jeopardize the ongoing investigation, the Justice Department said on Monday urging the federal judge to prevent the release.

The DOJ asked the federal magistrate judge to decide the matter without convening a hearing after several news organizations had submitted court motions – most of which were filed prior to the warrant’s release – to unseal material used in the warrant application.

Just days after federal prosecutors agreed to release a copy of the warrant and a receipt listing the seized materials during the search of Trump’s home, they submitted a court filing opposing any efforts to unseal the document with the probable cause for the search.

The filing underscores that there’s a very different set of considerations presented in the affidavit supporting the search warrant which demands keeping the affidavit sealed for compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of the ongoing law enforcement investigation in which the national security is implicated.

When seeking a judge’s authorization for a search warrant, prosecutors typically submit affidavits from law enforcement officials that are providing a basis to support the probable cause needed to obtain a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. The documents are

an overview of evidence collected during an investigation.

According to the court filing signed by the head of the DOJ’s counterintelligence office, Jay Bratt, and the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Juan Antonio Gonzalez, unsealing the affidavit would cause significant and irreparable damage to the ongoing criminal investigation since it contains highly sensitive and critically important and detailed investigative facts and information required by law to be kept under seal pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Citing a rule governing grand jury secrecy, they claimed that it could also affect the ability of the law enforcement agencies to secure cooperation from potential witnesses and risk revealing critical details about the witnesses that are already cooperating with investigators.

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