The Fed is asking the judge to keep the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit under wraps

In the court filing, the government argues that the release of the affidavit “would cause significant and irreparable harm to these ongoing criminal investigations”.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday dismissed efforts to release the affidavit in support of the search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, saying the investigation “implied highly classified material” and the document contained confidential information about witnesses.

Government opposition came in response to court filings from several news organizations, including The Associated Press, seeking to unseal the underlying affidavit the Justice Department filed when it came to the search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home earlier this month. property asked.

The court filing — by Juan Antonio Gonzalez, the U.S. Attorney in Miami, and Jay Bratt, a senior national security official at the Justice Department — argued that the release of the affidavit “would cause substantial and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”

The document, prosecutors said, contains “highly sensitive information about witnesses,” including people questioned by the government, and contains confidential grand jury information.

RELATED: ‘Top Secret’ documents seized by FBI at Trump’s home

The government told a federal judge that prosecutors believe some additional records, including the cover page for the warrant and the government’s request for the documents to be sealed, should now be released.

A property receipt unsealed Friday showed the FBI had seized 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were marked not only as top secret but also as “sensitive, compartmentalized information,” a special category designed to protect the nation’s most important secrets , which if publicly disclosed could be “exceedingly serious” harm to US interests. The court filings did not specify any information the documents might contain.

The Justice Department acknowledged on Monday that its ongoing criminal investigation “implies highly classified material.”

The search warrant, also unsealed Friday, says federal agents are investigating possible violations of three different federal laws, including one that governs the collection, transmission or loss of defense intelligence under the Espionage Act. The other laws deal with the concealment, mutilation, or removal of records and the destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations.

The search warrant executed in Mar-a-Lago 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 15 boxes of records it retrieved from the estate contained secret records.

It remains unclear whether the Justice Department put forward the warrant solely as a means of retrieving the records or as part of a broader criminal investigation or attempt to prosecute the former president. Several federal laws regulate the handling of classified information, which carries both criminal and civil penalties, and presidential records.

But the Justice Department argued in its filing Monday that its investigation is active and ongoing, and that releasing additional information could not only jeopardize the investigation but also expose witnesses to threats or discourage others from coming forward to cooperate with prosecutors.

“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap for the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details as to its direction and likely course in a manner that would most likely jeopardize future investigative steps,” the government wrote in the court filing. The Fed is asking the judge to keep the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit under wraps

Laura Coffey

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