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Re: Hearing on unsealing the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit to put DOJ arguments on display

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Aug 17, 2022, 1:35:03 AM8/17/22
In article <t2fn41$3jbnm$>
<> wrote:
> The DOJ lied and the affidavit is false.

A federal judge in Florida has scheduled a hearing Thursday on
whether to unseal the affidavit that federal investigators used
to justify a search warrant for former President Donald Trump's
Mar-a-Lago home — a major point of contention between the
government and the former president, his supporters and the news

The Department of Justice is arguing against unsealing the
document for fear it could compromise an “ongoing criminal
investigation” involving national security, while Trump and his
Republican allies are calling the unprecedented search a major
instance of government overreach and demanding the justification
be made public. Several media companies, meanwhile, have urged
the document be disclosed because of the public's "clear and
powerful interest in understanding what occurred in these

The hearing comes as investigators sort through the troves of
documents — including some labeled top secret and highly
classified — that they collected at the Florida resort last
week, and prepare to take next steps in the case.

A group of news organizations, including NBC News, has filed
court papers asking Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart to make
public the affidavit that convinced him to take the
extraordinary step of signing the warrant allowing FBI agents to
conduct the search.

It was a request U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland himself
wrestled with. Garland carefully considered whether to seek a
search warrant for Mar-a-Lago over a period of few weeks, a
senior DOJ official told NBC News, confirming a Wall Street
Journal report. Senior Justice Department and FBI officials held
many meetings on how to proceed with the probe before Garland
approved moving ahead with a search warrant, the official added.

In a statement last week announcing he was moving to unseal the
search warrant and the property receipt in the case, Garland
suggested he’d signed off on the search warrant out of
necessity. “Where possible, it is standard practice to seek less
intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly
scope any search that is undertaken,” he said.

Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing Monday they're
open to releasing more documents about the probe, but not the
affidavit, which Trump and his lawyers said they have not seen.
The filing said its premature release could “cause significant
and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”

“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,” they

It could also interfere with witnesses they’ve already
interviewed, and witnesses they could interview in the near
future, the filing said.

The “information about witnesses is particularly sensitive given
the high-profile nature of this matter and the risk that the
revelation of witness identities would impact their willingness
to cooperate with the investigation. Disclosure of the
government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill
future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought
as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-
profile investigations,” the filing said.

The government also said the probe involves national security
issues, adding, “The fact that this investigation implicates
highly classified materials further underscores the need to
protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the
potential for harm if information is disclosed to the public
prematurely or improperly.”

The filing noted that the Department of Justice consented to
having the search warrant and property receipt unsealed after
Trump publicly disclosed the Mar-a-Lago search, and that Trump
was already in possession of both documents.

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