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What will the Donald Trump raid affidavit reveal and will it be redacted?

Judge Bruce Reinhart has ordered the Justice Department to release documents supporting the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

FBI's Trump raid affidavit to be released

Judge Bruce Reinhart has ordered prosecutors who carried out the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to release a redacted affidavit laying out their reasoning for the search. The document must be made public by noon Friday.

On 8 August the Justice Department took the extraordinary step of searching Trump’s home as part of the ongoing investigation into the mishandling of classified documents and obstruction of justice.

Such documents normally remain sealed under after charges are filed to prevent them interfering with an ongoing investigation. However given the huge political repercussions of the FBI search, Judge Reinhart ruled that the prosecution’s reasoning should be made public.

“The United States has filed a submission under seal per the Court’s order of Aug. 22,” government spokesman Anthony Coley confirmed in a brief statement. “The Justice Department respectfully declines further comment as the Court considers the matter.”

Will the Mar-a-Lago raid affidavit be redacted?

The Justice Department had been reluctant to make any information related to the search public, fearing that it could undermine their investigation and potentially expose witnesses involved thus far. However the judge ruled that it could be released with redactions, meaning that sensitive information can be ‘blocked out’ in the published text.

On Thursday attorneys representing the Justice Department submitted proposals for redactions to the affidavit which Judge Reinhart accepted. In his written explanation, he confirmed that prosecutors had shown “good cause” for sections to be withheld.

He said that failing to redact parts of the affidavit could reveal “the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties,” “the investigation’s strategy, direction, scope, sources, and methods” and “grand jury information.”

What will the affidavit from the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago show?

An affidavit is a written document which the author has sworn under oath is true. They are often used in investigations to add a ‘guarantee’ of truthfulness to testimony and they form a crucial part of the court system.

In this instance, it appears that it was an affidavit from witnesses or prosecutors that was the key piece of information in persuading the courts to authorise the FBI raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property. It will therefore contain key information from the investigation, most likely the probable cause for the search.

The warrant authorising the search was approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland, who had previously been attempting to carry out the investigation quietly and without arousing any undue coverage.

The sight of FBI agents combing through the home of a former president, along with the deeply politicised statement put out by Trump in the immediate aftermath, have put the investigation at the forefront of Trump’s legal concerns.

Quite what the affidavit will reveal is still unknown, but several former United States attorneys have suggested that it could also include details of suspected crimes not related to this investigation, but had taken place at the Mar-a-Lago residence.


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