WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Lawyers for many of the nation’s largest media companies will try to persuade a federal judge Thursday afternoon to release the affidavit supporting the order that allowed officers to of the FBI search the Florida of former President Donald Trump. farm last week.
The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, broadcast networks, CNN and others want the US magistrate judge. bruce and reinhart to release the affidavit despite objection from the US Justice Department, which says its investigation into Trump’s handling of “highly classified material” would be compromised.
The media companies argue that releasing the affidavit would help the public determine whether the Justice Department had legitimate reasons for the search or whether it was part of a Biden administration vendetta against Trump, as the former president and his supporters contend. Trump, in a Truth Social post last week, called for the release of the unredacted affidavit in the interest of transparency.
“The matter is of the utmost public interest and involves the actions of current and former government officials,” wrote attorney Carol Jean LoCiero, who represents the Times and others. “President Trump denounced the search as an ‘assault that could only take place in Third World countries,’ claiming that agents ‘even broke into my safe,’ and questioned the validity of the search.”
Justice Department lawyers argued in a court filing that their investigation into Trump’s handling of “highly classified material” is ongoing and that the document contains confidential information about witnesses.
The presentation by Juan Antonio González, the federal prosecutor in Miami, and Jay Bratt, a top national security official at the Justice Department, says making the affidavit public “would cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”
“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 way that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” they wrote.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Trump’s attorneys had not indicated in the court file that they plan to participate in the hearing.
FBI agents searched Trump’s property at Mar-a-Lago on August 8 and removed 11 sets of classified documents, some not only marked top secret but also “compartmentalized confidential information,” according to a receipt for what was taken that was released on Friday. That’s a special category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets that, if publicly revealed, could cause “exceptionally grave” harm to American interests. Court records did not provide specific details about what information the documents might contain.
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