By Katelyn Polantz, CNN Reporter, Crime and Justice
The federal magistrate judge who approved the Mar-a-Lago search warrant will hold a hearing Thursday at the court in Florida to discuss requests to unseal investigators’ probable cause affidavit, which the Justice Department has opposed releasing.
A federal judge on Friday unsealed the search warrant and property receipt from the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Florida, a move the Justice Department backed, but on Monday, the DOJ said it opposed releasing the affidavit specifically in an effort to protect witnesses and keep grand jury proceedings confidential.
“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,” the Justice Department wrote. “The fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the potential harm if information is disclosed to the public prematurely or improperly.”
Media organizations, including CNN, had asked for the affidavit to be unsealed after the search last week at Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, club and residence.
The DOJ said details in the affidavit that lay out the argument that investigators made to Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart explaining the probable cause it had to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last week. The search, documents show, was an evidence-gathering step in a national security investigation about presidential records at Mar-a-Lago. Trump owns the sprawling estate, and it is his primary residence as well as a members-only club and resort.
The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents from its search, including some materials marked as “top secret/SCI” — one of the highest levels of classification, according to documents from the search warrant that were released Friday.
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