At the request of Justice, Judge Reinhart has already unsealed the order and two appendices. Those documents revealed, among other things, that prosecutors investigated whether Mr. Trump violated the Espionage Act, mishandled government documents and obstructed justice by removing boxes of material from the White House at the end of his term in office.
More coverage of the FBI search into Trump’s home
Outside the courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach, vans for news media and cameras lined the street, prompting a passerby to note that there must be a celebrity inside. At the court’s request, more than three dozen reporters entered the courtroom, wearing face masks. A few curious attendees were also present.
Before the proceedings began in earnest, Judge Reinhart unlocked a few additional documents related to the affidavit of the warrant that all parties had agreed to release. They include a redacted copy of the warrant application, the original warrant to seal the warrant, and the government’s request to seal the warrant.
A top Justice Department attorney started arguments for Judge Reinhart by admitting that the search for Mar-a-Lago had sparked “heightened public interest,” but he still resisted the request to unseal the affidavit and said it was a “very detailed and fairly lengthy” document that would guide the department’s ongoing investigation into Mr Trump.
The attorney, Jay Bratt, the head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control division, who has led the investigation from the start, noted that if the affidavit were publicly available, it could prompt the government’s next investigative steps. and endanger the security of her country. testify at a time when Mar-a-Lago’s search had resulted in multiple threats against federal agents and others.
“This is a volatile situation regarding this particular quest across the political spectrum, but certainly on one side in particular,” Bratt said. “There is a real concern, not only for the safety of these witnesses, but also to deter other witnesses who come forward and cooperate.”