Feds Release Redacted Mar-a-Lago Affidavit

It's expected to shed new light on the FBI search of Trump's residence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 26, 2022 11:35 AM CDT
Feds Release Redacted Mar-a-Lago Affidavit
Previously released documents related to the search warrant for former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

The Mar-a-Lago affidavit is out, sort of. As ordered by a court, the Justice Department on Friday released a heavily blacked out document explaining the justification for an FBI search of former President Trump's Florida estate earlier this month. The document (read it here) is likely to offer at least some new details about the rationale for the search and the ongoing criminal investigation, though it may take time to fully suss them out. Justice Department officials were expected to have removed sensitive details about witnesses, as well as about the scope and direction of the probe, per the AP.

The document is the redacted form of an affidavit, or sworn statement, that the FBI submitted to a judge so it could obtain a warrant to search Trump's property. Affidavits typically contain vital information about an investigation, with agents spelling out to a judge the justification for why they want to search a particular property and why they believe they’re likely to find evidence of a potential crime there. But affidavits routinely remain sealed during pending investigations. In an acknowledgment of the extraordinary public interest in the investigation, US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart on Thursday ordered the department by Friday to make public a redacted version of the affidavit.

Documents already made public show the FBI retrieved from the property 11 sets of classified documents, including information marked at the top secret level. They also show that federal agents are investigating potential violations of three federal laws, including one that governs gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information under the Espionage Act. The other statutes address the concealment, mutilation, or removal of records and the destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations. Trump and his backers have maintained that he had the authority as president to declassify any documents he removed from the White House.

(Read more Mar-a-Lago stories.)

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