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Hearing on unsealing Trump FBI raid affidavit underway

A hearing in South Florida federal court was underway Thursday to determine whether the affidavit underpinning last week’s FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate should be made public

West Palm Beach Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the warrant to search the 45th president’s home, was due to hear arguments from several media outlets trying to persuade him to make the affidavit public — despite the Justice Department’s objections.

The Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and CNN are among the outlets that have argued the document’s release would help the public determine if there was a legitimate reason behind the Aug. 8 raid.

A hearing in South Florida federal court will be held to decide if the search warrant for the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate should be made public.
Robert Miller
The hearing is scheduled to take place at the Paul G. Roger Federal building on August 18, 2022.
The hearing is scheduled to take place at the Paul G. Rogers federal building on August 18, 2022.
AP Photo/Marta Lavandier
Judge Bruce Reinhart, was due to hear arguments from several media outlets trying to persuade him to make the affidavit public.
Judge Bruce Reinhart was due to hear arguments from several media outlets trying to persuade him to make the affidavit public.
PRNewsFoto/McDonald Hopkins LLC
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that he signed off the search warrant.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland said he signed off on the search warrant.
REUTERS/Leah Millis

Trump and his allies have argued the raid was part of a Biden administration vendetta against the former president, and Trump himself has called for the “immediate release” of the affidavit.

Trump attorney Christina Bobb, who was present when federal agents searched Mar-a-Lago, was in court Thursday, but only as an observer.

The feds seized 27 boxes from Trump’s palatial estate, including 11 sets of classified documents that were labeled top secret, secret, or confidential, according to an inventory that was unsealed Aug. 12.

The Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and CNN are among the outlets that have argued the document's release.
The Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and CNN are among the outlets that have argued for the document’s release.
REUTERS/JIm Bourg
Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.
Armed Secret Service agents stand outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
AP Photo/Terry Renna
The feds seized 27 boxes from Trump's palatial estate, including 11 sets of classified documents that were labeled top secret.
The feds seized 27 boxes from Trump’s palatial estate, including 11 sets of classified documents that were labeled top secret.
REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

Reinhart had signed off on the warrant as part of a federal probe into whether Trump allegedly mishandled classified material taken from the White House.

Attorneys for the Justice Department argued that their investigation is ongoing and the affidavit should remain sealed because it contains sensitive information about witnesses.

“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” South Florida US Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez and DOJ counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt wrote in a filing opposing the document’s release.

This is a developing story.

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