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DOJ says release of Mar-a-Lago affidavit could threaten safety of witnesses

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The DOJ asked a judge not to unseal the FBI affidavit underlying the Mar-a-Lago raid. DOJ counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt said there was “genuine concern” for the safety of witnesses. He also said the release of the affidavit could “deter” others from cooperating with the Trump investigation. Something is loading.

The Justice Department on Thursday asked a judge not to unseal the FBI affidavit underlying its Mar-a-Lago search warrant because its release could jeopardize the department’s investigation into the former’s treatment. President Donald Trump National Security Information.

The investigation is still in its “early stages”, DOJ head of counterintelligence Jay Bratt told the court, adding that there is also a “genuine concern” for the safety of witnesses. He also said unsealing the affidavit could expose sensitive grand jury information and “prevent” other potential witnesses from coming forward and cooperating with prosecutors.

When Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart raised the possibility of releasing a redacted version of the document, Bratt said it would be impractical for the government to redact all of the information it considers truly sensitive because “there would be no nothing substantial.”

Reinhart scheduled Thursday’s hearing after multiple media organizations called for the release of all documents and records related to the FBI’s unprecedented search of the former president’s Florida residence last week.

After hearing the arguments for and against releasing the affidavit, the judge indicated that he was “inclined” to unseal parts of it. Reinhart ordered the DOJ to submit the proposed redactions to the court by next Thursday, after which it will issue a final decision.

David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, told Insider that Reinhart’s decision was both “unusual and noteworthy” given that the investigation is in its preliminary stages and no charges are forthcoming. was filed.

“For many reasons outlined by the DOJ” in court this afternoon, “disclosure of this type of information during an active investigation rarely happens,” he said.

However, the high-profile nature of the case and heightened public interest in Mar-a-Lago’s research and its continued fallout could weigh in favor of a partial release of the affidavit, Weinstein added.

According to the search warrant, which was unsealed last week, the DOJ is investigating whether Trump violated three federal laws, including the Espionage Act, related to his handling of national security information.

The FBI affidavit underlying the warrant may contain additional details about the documents the government recovered, what the grand jury asked for and what was presented to them, testimonies related to the nature of the documents, the results or the content of previous searches, and the overall scope and scope of the ministry’s investigation.

Weinstein cautioned against expecting a redacted version of the affidavit to reveal important details about the DOJ investigation.

But Andrew Weissmann, a former FBI general counsel who later worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, told MSNBC he could still hold bread crumbs about the DOJ’s direction of the investigation and key exchanges between Trump’s lawyers and department officials before the raid.

These exchanges could demonstrate how the DOJ made a good faith attempt to obtain the records and exhausted other less intrusive measures before deciding to seek a search warrant.

The former president, for his part, wants Reinhart to release the affidavit even as his advisers warn it could backfire, according to The Washington Post.

In the days following the execution of the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, Trump and his allies accused the Justice Department and the FBI of prosecutorial misconduct and political persecution.

Trump also called on Reinhart to recuse himself because he had previously made political contributions to Democrats. Reinhart also donated to Republicans.

“There is no way to justify the unannounced Mar-a-Lago raid,” Trump said on Truth Social earlier this week, before falsely claiming it was a “horrific and shocking”.

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