Feds oppose unsealing affidavit for Mar-a-Lago warrant

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Monday rejected attempts to release the affidavit in support of the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida, saying the investigation “contains top-secret material” and that it document contains sensitive information about witnesses.

The government’s opposition came in response to court filings from several news organizations, including The Associated Press, which attempted to unlock the underlying affidavit filed by the Justice Department when it asked for the warrant to close the Mar-a estate earlier this month. Search Trump’s Lagoon.

Trump, in a Truth Social post early Tuesday, called for the release of the unedited affidavit in the interest of transparency.

The court file — of Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the U.S. attorney in Miami, and Jay Bratt, a top national security official at the Department of Justice — states that making the affidavit public would “consider significant and irreparable harm to this pending criminal prosecution.” research”.

The document, prosecutors say, contains “highly sensitive information about witnesses,” including people interviewed by the government, and contains confidential information from the grand jury.

The government told a federal magistrate that prosecutors believe some additional details, including the cover sheet for the warrant and the government’s request to seal the documents, should now be made public.

A title deed unsealed Friday showed the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, some of which have been marked not only top secret but also “sensitive compartmentalized information,” a special category designed to hold the country’s top secrets. that, if disclosed publicly, would cause “exceptionally serious” harm to American interests. The court records do not contain specific details about the information the documents might contain.

The Justice Department acknowledged Monday that the ongoing criminal investigation “contains highly classified material”.

The search warrant, also unsealed Friday, said federal agents were investigating possible violations of three different federal laws, including one that regulates the collection, transmission or loss of defense information under the Espionage Act. The other statutes cover the concealment, mutilation, or removal of documents and the destruction, alteration, or falsification of documents in federal investigations.

The Mar-a-Lago search warrant, issued Monday, was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s home earlier this year. The National Archives had asked the department to investigate after it said 15 boxes of records it retrieved from the estate contained classified records.

It remains unclear whether the Justice Department went ahead with the order to retrieve the data or as part of a wider criminal investigation or attempt to prosecute the former president. Multiple federal laws govern the handling of classified information, with both criminal and civil penalties, as well as presidential records.

But the Justice Department argued in its filing Monday that the investigation is active and ongoing and that releasing additional information could not only jeopardize the investigation, but threaten witnesses or deter others from coming forward. to cooperate with prosecutors.

“If the affidavit is released, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap for the government’s ongoing investigation, detailing its direction and likely course, in a way that is very likely to jeopardize future investigative steps,” the affidavit wrote. government in the court application.

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