Redacted affidavit in Trump Mar-a-Lago search released: NPR

Police stand outside the entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.

Wilfred Lee/AP

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Wilfred Lee/AP

Police stand outside the entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.

Wilfred Lee/AP

The affidavit used by the FBI to obtain a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home is now public. A redacted version of the document was released by a federal court this afternoon.

The country’s main court filing system, known as PACER, was unable to handle the upload request and delayed publication until after the court-mandated noon deadline.

Of the 38 pages of the affidavit, nearly half were covered in thick black lines obscuring information that demonstrated to a federal judge the need to search Trump’s property in Florida.

“There are probable grounds to believe that evidence, contraband, proceeds of crime or other unlawfully possessed items” were improperly stored at various locations in Mar-a-Lago, the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, classified documents related to national defense were found among 15 boxes the National Archives had obtained from Mar-a-Lago earlier in the year. Some of these documents were mixed with other files, loose and unlabeled, prompting the archives to refer the case to the Department of Justice. As the department worked with Trump and his attorneys, it became concerned about the nature of the property’s other documents and that they were not adequately safeguarded or stored.

Since the search was executed on August 8, threats of violence against the FBI have increased. Anticipating the potential for violence from Trump supporters, the agent for the affidavit requested that it be sealed.

“I believe it is necessary to seal this document because the items and information to be seized are relevant to an ongoing investigation and the FBI has not yet identified all potential criminal accomplices or found all evidence related to its investigation” , the unidentified agent wrote in the newspaper. affidavit. “Premature disclosure of the contents of this affidavit and related documents may have a significant and negative impact on the prosecution of the investigation and may seriously impair its effectiveness by allowing the criminal parties to flee, destroy evidence (electronically stored and otherwise ), change behavior patterns, and inform criminal accomplices.”

Media organizations have gone to court to demand that the public be able to see the affidavit setting out the reasons and research for the unprecedented search. The Department of Justice then countered that it contained information that could compromise ongoing investigations as well as the safety of federal employees.

Judge Bruce Reinhart last week ordered the ministry to provide him with a redacted version to consider for publication. On Thursday, he said the government had argued that disclosure of all affidavits would reveal witnesses, the strategy of the investigation, its scope and grand jury information and that there were reasons to keep much secret for now. But he said the government’s proposed redactions were tailored enough to protect the integrity of the investigation and offered “the least onerous alternative” to keeping the entire document sealed.

The affidavit also explains the work of a “Privilege Review Team” to identify and separate documents that may be subject to solicitor-client privilege.

This story will be updated.

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