affidavit, chilling effect on cooperation of witnesses, criminal investigation, Florida, highly classified materials, Mar-a-Lago, National Security, ongoing investigation, threats against witnesses, Trump, US District Court Southern District of Florida, US DOJ
Excerpt from 13 pages of filing:
“UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 22-MJ-8332-BER
IN RE SEALED SEARCH WARRANT
UNITED STATES’ OMNIBUS RESPONSE TO MOTIONS TO UNSEAL
On August 8, 2022, the Department of Justice executed a search warrant at the premises located at 1100 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach, Florida 33480, a property of former President Donald J. Trump. Given the circumstances presented in this matter and the public interest in transparency, and in the wake of the former President’s public confirmation of the search and his representatives’ public characterizations of the materials sought, the government moved to unseal the search warrant, its attachments, and the Property Receipt summarizing materials seized, which motion this Court granted. Those docketed items, which had already been provided to the former President’s counsel upon execution of the warrant, have now appropriately been made public. The affidavit supporting the search warrant presents a very different set of considerations. There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed.1
The government does not object to unsealing other materials filed in connection with the search warrant whose unsealing would not jeopardize the integrity of this national security investigation, subject to minor redactions to protect government personnel, namely: cover sheets associated with the search warrant application, Docket Entry (“D.E.”) 1; the government’s motion to seal, D.E. 2; and the Court’s sealing order, D.E. 3. The government’s proposed redactions to those documents have been filed under seal as D.E. 57, and the government now asks the Court to unseal the materials contained in that filing….
Disclosure at this juncture of the affidavit supporting probable cause would, by contrast, cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation. As the Court is aware from its review of the affidavit, it contains, among other critically important and detailed investigative facts: highly sensitive information about witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the government; specific investigative techniques; and information required by law to be kept under seal pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e). 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. In addition, information about witnesses is particularly sensitive given the high-profile nature of this matter and the risk that the revelation of witness identities would impact their willingness to cooperate with the investigation. 5 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. The fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation and exacerbates the potential for harm if information is disclosedto the public prematurely or improperly.6…”
“1 The government has carefully considered whether the affidavit can be released subject to redactions. For the reasons discussed below, the redactions necessary to mitigate harms to the integrity of the investigation would be so extensive as to render the remaining unsealed text devoid of meaningful content, and the release of such a redacted version would not serve any public interest. Nevertheless, should the Court order partial unsealing of the affidavit, the government respectfully requests an opportunity to provide the Court with proposed redactions….
5 This is not merely a hypothetical concern, given the widely reported threats made against law enforcement personnel in the wake of the August 8 search. See, e.g., Alan Feuer et al., “Armed Man Is Killed After Trying to Breach FBI’s Cincinnati Office,” N.Y. Times (Aug. 11, 2022), available at https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/08/11/us/fbi-cincinnati-shooting-news; Josh Margolin, “Authorities Monitoring Online Threats Following FBI’s Mar-a-Lago Raid,” ABC News (Aug. 11, 2022), available at https://abcnews.go.com/US/authorities-monitoring-online-threats-fbis-mar-lago-raid/story?id=88199587.
6 Given that the Court is considering motions to unseal this affidavit merely days after reviewing these materials and approving the warrant application, the government is mindful that this Court is familiar with the highly sensitive contents of the affidavit and the specific harms that would result from its unsealing. However, if the Court would like the government to file a sealed ex parte supplement that addresses with more specificity the contents of the affidavit and the harms identified in this response, the government stands ready to do so.” Case 9:22-mj-08332-BER Document 59 Entered on FLSD Docket 08/15/2022 Page 1 of 13 Read the rest here: https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000182-a333-dc87-a5ea-e73f29010000
“Justice Department filing: Unsealing Trump affidavit would harm ‘ongoing criminal investigation’” By Laura Clawson Daily Kos Staff Monday August 15, 2022 · 5:13 PM GMT https://web.archive.org/web/20220815215215/https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/8/15/2116837/-Justice-Department-filing-Unsealing-Trump-affidavit-would-harm-ongoing-criminal-investigation?pm_campaign=blog&pm_medium=rss&pm_source=main