A federal judge in Florida has ordered the redaction of the affidavit that led the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, clearing the way for its potential release.
Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the search warrant the FBI executed last Monday, ruled on Thursday that the Justice Department has until next Thursday at noon to file a redacted version of affidavit.
Judge Reinhart said he believes portions of the affidavit “could be presumptively unsealed, but that it wasn’t up to him to determine “whether those portions would be meaningful for the public or the media.”
The surprising decision came after the Justice Department argued that the affidavit should remain sealed so as not to compromise its investigation, which Jay Bratt, head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence division, noted is still in its “early stages” and involves “several witnesses.”
“This is not a precedent that we want to set,” Bratt said of the potential unsealing of the affidavit.
The Justice Department last week released the search warrant, which revealed that Trump is under investigation for potentially violating the Espionage Act. The affidavit, which led to the warrant, contains more details about the investigation, including information about witnesses. Trump and his allies have been pushing for the affidavit’s release, although his team did not present any argument in court on Thursday as to why exactly they feel it should be unsealed.
This post has been updated.