(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart has 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.
The order notes that, “The response may be filed ex parte and under seal as necessary to avoid disclosing matters already under seal. In that event, the Government shall file a redacted Response in the public record.”
On August 9, Judicial Watch filed its 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 President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida (U.S. v. Sealed Search Warrant (Case No. 9:22-mj-08332)).
The Albany Times Union and the New York Times have joined Judicial Watch in filing for the unsealing of the warrant by filing an amicus letter and motion respectively.
Due to multiple organizations filing to unseal the warrant, Judge Reinhart further 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 on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on August 15, 2022.”
According to media reports, the warrant relates to an alleged dispute over the Presidential Records Act.
In its motion Judicial Watch states:
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…. [N]o 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.
As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said when the motion was filed, “The Biden administration’s raid on President Trump’s home is an outrageous, reckless and unprecedented abuse of power. And the American people have an urgent right to know how it happened and who is responsible.”