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Judge partially denies DOJ request for Trump search documents to remain sealed

Scripps was among the companies suing for access to the documents
Trump FBI
Posted at 11:31 AM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 14:41:34-04

A judge considering whether the Department of Justice is compelled to release additional documents following last week’s search at President Donald Trump’s resort home in Florida ruled portions of the documents can be made public. Scripps and several other major media companies motioned last week to have the documents released.

Last week, the Department of Justice, with the consent of Trump’s legal team, released the search warrant and inventory. The warrant indicated that the DOJ was investigating three possible crimes involving classified documents leaving the White House and being stored at Mar-a-Lago. The inventory confirmed that investigators seized 11 boxes of classified documents, some considered top secret.

The DOJ expressed concerns that releasing additional documents would jeopardize its investigation.

Judge Bruce Reinhart said a redacted version of the affidavit can be released. The judge added that there are portions of the affidavit that can be released without jeopardizing the investigation.

"I'm not prepared to find that the affidavit should be fully sealed based on the record he has now,” he said, according to CNN. 

The judge gave the DOJ a week to submit its redactions.

Generally, search warrants are sealed during ongoing investigations. Affidavits are even more protected as they could indicate the rationale behind the search warrant.

Attorney General Merrick Garland argued that because Trump had confirmed the search publicly and the immense public interest in the case, the public should examine the search warrant.

But going one step further by releasing the affidavits and supporting documents was a step too far for the DOJ.

"The redactions necessary to mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content, and the release of such a redacted version would not serve any public interest," the DOJ argued to Reinhart.