(FreedomBeacon.com)- A federal judge determined on August 22 that the U.S. government hasn’t shown enough proof to keep a critical document connected to the search warrant conducted at former President Donald Trump’s house secret.
According to officials, the affidavit that persuaded U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart to grant the request requires substantial redactions to safeguard FBI agents and witnesses as well as the continuing investigation into Trump.
In a recent hearing, Reinhart was informed by Jay Bratt, head of the Department of Justice’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, that the redactions would leave “very little—nothing of substance.”
According to Reinhart, in the latest decision, the government has successfully met its burden of proving that its interests outweigh those of the public to unseal the entire affidavit. However, the government hasn’t yet provided enough evidence to justify keeping some material private.
He said that he could not declare that partial redactions will be so extensive as to produce a meaningless disclosure, but he may ultimately reach that determination after hearing more from the government.
He said the administration has not yet demonstrated that these administrative considerations are sufficient to support sealing, given the enormous public and historical interest in an unusual search of a former president’s residence. Therefore, he disagrees with the government’s claim that the current record warrants keeping the whole affidavit sealed.
Reinhart directed the government to submit additional information in support of retaining the whole document under seal, as well as suggested redactions to the affidavit, a document written by an FBI agent that explains why the government thinks a warrant is required. On August 8, the warrant was sent at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
Reinhart will examine the suggested omissions. He will either accept them and release the redacted document or reject them and give the government time to file an appeal with a higher court.
A party might be able to argue that other interests outweigh the public’s right to see certain documents, such as an affidavit related to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The judge should make the document public with no redactions, according to public declarations made by Donald Trump and his legal team.
Judge James Reinhart wrote that unsealing the document could lead to witness intimidation and harm legitimate privacy interests.