The United States Justice Department asked a judge on Aug. 15 to keep the affidavit used to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate under seal, citing the ongoing investigation.
In a new court filing filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the Justice Department asked the magistrate judge to keep the affidavit sealed “to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security.”
“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations,” U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez and the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Chief Jay Bratt wrote in the filing.
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to 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 Justice Department lawyers further wrote.
The Justice Department said that if the magistrate judge were to order the partial unsealing of the affidavit, “the government respectfully requests an opportunity to provide the Court with proposed redactions.”
The Justice Department also said that it does not object to the release of the other documents related to the search “whose unsealing would not jeopardize the integrity of this national security investigation,” such as “cover sheets associated with the search warrant application, the government’s motion to seal, and the Court’s sealing order.”
The motion is filed in response to a request to unseal the affidavit lodged by multiple media organizations and it comes as lawmakers from both parties are requesting more transparency into the investigation.
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