Justice Department opposes unsealed affidavit for Mar-a-Lago warrant


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Monday pushed back on efforts to release the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, saying the investigation “involved highly classified” and that the document contained sensitive witness information.

The government’s opposition came in response to court filings by multiple news outlets, including the Associated Press, seeking to unseal the underlying affidavit the Justice Department submitted when seeking the search warrant. of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month.

The court filing — from Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the U.S. attorney in Miami, and Jay Bratt, a senior Justice Department national security official — argues that making the affidavit public would “cause significant and irreparable harm. to this ongoing criminal investigation.

READ MORE: A timeline of events leading up to the FBI’s search of Trump’s estate in Florida

The document, according to prosecutors, details “highly sensitive witness information,” including people who were interviewed by the government, and contains classified grand jury information.

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

A property receipt unsealed on Friday showed the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were not only marked top secret but also ‘compartmentalized sensitive information’, a special category meant to protect the country’s most important secrets. which, if publicly disclosed, could cause “exceptional seriousness”. “damages to American interests. Court records did not provide specific details about what information the documents might contain.

The Justice Department acknowledged on Monday that its ongoing criminal investigation “involved highly classified material.”

The search warrant, also unsealed on Friday, said federal agents were investigating potential violations of three different federal laws, including one that governs the collection, transmission or loss of defense information under the Security Act. ‘spying. The other statutes deal with the concealment, mutilation or suppression of documents and the destruction, alteration or falsification of documents in federal investigations.

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

READ COMPLETE: The warrant behind the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

It remains unclear whether the Justice Department moved forward with the warrant simply as a way to retrieve the records or as part of a larger criminal investigation or attempt to prosecute the former president. Several federal laws govern the handling of classified information, with criminal and civil penalties, as well as presidential records.

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

“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap for the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to jeopardize future stages of investigation,” the government wrote in the court filing.


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