The US Justice Department on Monday rejected attempts to release the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Florida assets, saying the investigation “involves highly classified material” and that the document contains information Confidential about witnesses.
The administration’s opposition came in response to court filings by several news organizations, including The Associated Press, seeking to reveal the underlying affidavit the Justice Department filed when seeking the warrant to search Trump’s property in Mar-a -Lake earlier this month.
The court filing, by Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the federal prosecutor in Miami, and Jay Bratt, a senior national security official at the Justice Department, argues that releasing the affidavit “will cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.” “.
The document, prosecutors say, details “highly confidential information about witnesses,” including people who have been interviewed by the government, and contains confidential information from the grand jury.
The government told a federal judge that prosecutors believe some additional records, including the cover of the warrant and the government’s request to seal the documents, should now be made public.
A property receipt opened Friday showed the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, some not only marked top secret but also “compartmentalized confidential information,” a special category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets that, if reveal publicly, could cause “exceptionally serious information”. “Harming American interests. Court records did not provide specific details about what information the documents might contain.
The Justice Department acknowledged Monday that its ongoing criminal investigation “involves highly classified material.”
The search warrant, also unsealed Friday, said federal agents were investigating possible violations of three different federal laws, including one governing the collection, transmission or loss of defense information under the Espionage Act. The other statutes address the concealment, mutilation, or elimination of records and the destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations.
The Mar-a-Lago search warrant, made last Monday, was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s home earlier this year. The National Archives had asked the department to investigate after saying that 15 boxes of records he recovered from the estate included classified records.
It’s unclear whether the Justice Department went ahead with the warrant simply as a means to retrieve the records or as part of a broader criminal investigation or attempt to prosecute the former president. Multiple federal laws govern the handling of classified information, with criminal and civil penalties, as well as presidential records.
But the Justice Department, in its filing Monday, argued that its investigation is active and ongoing and that the release of additional information could not only compromise the investigation, but also subject witnesses to threats or deter others from cooperating with the investigation. The prosecutors.
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap for 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,” the government wrote. in the court file.