By Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch
The warrant that authorized the search of former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago was released today following our court filing seeking release of all FBI warrant materials.
We’re pleased that our legal pressure forced the partial release of warrant materials about the Biden administration’s political raid on the home of former President Trump. We expect and demand the underlying warrant affidavit and other materials be immediately disclosed.
On August 9, we filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to unseal as soon as possible the search warrant materials used by the FBI to raid the Florida home (U.S. v. Sealed Search Warrant (No. 9:22-mj-08332)).
The Justice Department agreed that the warrant should be released in its filing:
The government hereby requests that the Court unseal the Notice of Filing and its attachment (Docket Entry 17), absent objection by former President Trump. The attachment to that Notice consists of:
- The search warrant signed and approved by the Court on August 5, 2022, including Attachments A and B; and
- The redacted Property Receipt listing items seized pursuant to the search, filed with the Court on August 11, 2022
The press and the public enjoy a qualified right of access to criminal and judicial proceedings and the judicial records filed therein.
Our legal pressure forced an important first step by the Biden Justice Department to disclose Attorney General Garland’s role in the abusive Trump raid.
Initially, the Albany Times Union and the New York Times joined us in filing for the unsealing of the warrant by filing an amicus letter and motion respectively. Other interests later joined in the effort.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart had ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to file a response to Judicial Watch’s Motion to Unseal the warrant and supporting materials behind the FBI raid of President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago by 5p.m. on August 15, 2022.
Due to multiple organizations filing to unseal the warrant, Judge Reinhart ordered that, “To avoid the need for individualized orders on any future motion(s) to unseal, it is ORDERED that the Government shall file an omnibus response to all motions to unseal …”
Yesterday, President Trump issued a public statement “ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”
Our August 9 motion stated:
Judicial Watch is investigating the potential politicization of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice and whether the FBI and the Justice Department are abusing their law enforcement powers to harass a likely future political opponent of President Biden.
The public has an urgent and substantial interest in understanding the predicate for the execution of the unprecedented search warrant of the private residence of a former president and likely future political opponent…. No official explanation or information has been released about the search. As of the filing of this motion, the public record consists solely of speculation and inuendo. In short, the historical presumption of access to warrant materials vastly outweighs any interest the government may have in keeping the materials under seal.
Given the political context, and the highly unusual action of executing a search warrant at the residence of a former President and likely future political opponent, it is essential that the public understands as soon as possible the basis for the government’s action. Any government interest in securing the identities of witnesses and confidential sources, if any, may be addressed by appropriate redactions from the search warrant affidavit.
The U.S. Constitution and federal law give unreviewable authority to President Trump to take whatever records he wishes at the end of his presidency. The Biden administration’s dishonest depiction of personal records of President Trump it illicitly seized during the raid as “classified” is further demonstration that the raid was a brazen act of raw political abuse.