By Zachary Stieber
A document made public on Aug. 18 for the first time shows that an FBI agent authored the request for a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s resort in Florida.
The document, an application for a warrant (pdf), was made by an FBI special agent.
The document also shows that an agent, possibly the same one, authored the affidavit, or a sworn statement that outlined to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida why it should grant the application.
The identity of the agent who signed the application and the name of the agent who signed the affidavit are redacted.
The application was made on Aug. 5, and approved the same day by U.S. District Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the unsealing of the application on Aug. 12.
Agents executed the warrant on Aug. 8, taking boxes of items and documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
While opposing the release of the affidavit, government lawyers said in a recent filing that they did object to making public other documents related to the raid, including the application, as long as minor redactions could be made “to protect government personnel.”
Releasing the affidavit, on the other hand, would harm an ongoing investigation into potential criminal conduct by Trump, the lawyers argued.
Reinhart on Friday ordered them to produce a redacted version of the affidavit to him by Aug. 25 at noon. He said he was leaning towards releasing a redacted copy, though a lawyer for media outlets calling for its release said the process will take weeks.
“I find that on the present record the Government has not met its burden of showing that the entire affidavit should remain sealed,” Reinhart said in a written order after a hearing.
A slew of documents have been filed under seal in the case. Some, including the warrant itself, were unsealed by Reinhart with light redactions on Aug. 12.
Neither federal lawyers nor Trump’s counsel opposed the release of those documents, which indicated that the FBI’s Washington Field Office was running point on the raid. The warrant was predicated on the belief that Trump has likely violated laws governing the transmittal of defense information, concealment of records, and destruction of records. Trump has said he is innocent and being politically targeted.
U.S. lawyers filed the application with the court on Aug. 15. Until Friday, none of its details could be viewed by the public.
Other documents were also unsealed: a criminal cover sheet showing U.S. Attorney Juan Gonzalez or the Southern District of Florida stating the case did not originate from several pending matters, a motion to seal the warrant and related documents, and the approval of the motion to seal.