Donald Trump’s legal team is asking a judge to force the Justice Department to turn over a fully unredacted copy of the FBI affidavit used to secure a warrant to search the former president’s Mar-a-Lago property.
In court filings Tuesday, Trump turned to the same judge who appointed a special master to review the documents seized during the search, rather than the magistrate judge who initially signed the warrant.
“Plaintiff cannot vindicate his Constitutional rights unless he is permitted to review the search warrant affidavit,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the filing.
“Plaintiff must have an opportunity to review the affidavit and determine whether the Fourth Amendment was respected, intentionally subverted, or recklessly violated by a DOJ bent on getting its nose under the Mar-a-Lago tent.”
During the search, the Justice Department uncovered more than 100 classified records at Trump’s home and seized about 22,000 pages of other government records.
The Justice Department released a heavily redacted version of the warrant in late August, with a less redacted version unsealed by the court in mid-September.
Key provisions of the nearly 40-page warrant affidavit remain redacted, however, though in his filing, Trump’s team seems focused on how the search of his home could impact other ongoing legal issues, arguing without evidence that the Justice Department improperly sought information for other unknown investigations.
“A general rummaging through the belongings of President Trump is a particularly ominous moment in law enforcement history. With DOJ and some state officials engaging in various efforts to investigate President Trump, the search smacks of pretextual conduct with hopes of feeding personal documents to prosecutors or agents who might find use for them in unrelated pursuits,” they wrote.
The affidavit surfaced as an issue in arguments before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday, where DOJ is seeking to strike the appointment of the special master to review the documents.
“The search warrant described the places to be searched with particularity: the office and the storage room. It described the items to be seized with particularity, and those are exactly the items that we seized. The detailed property inventory is in the record document 116-1. It shows 33 boxes of items that were taken, seven from the office, and 26 from the storage room. And that’s exactly what we seized,” Sopan Joshi argued on behalf of the government.