Federal agents investigating former President Donald Trump’s connection to classified documents told the judge who signed the search warrant for his Florida estate last year that they fear the whereabouts are unknown. found some documents, according to a new court filing.
A less redacted version of the search warrant affidavit released on Wednesday said Justice Department officials became concerned after viewing Mar-a-Lago security cameras they had obtained from the Trump Company. .
The affidavit says the videos show a Trump employee – since identified as aide and former White House valet Walt Nauta – moving boxes out of a storage area where Trump and his lawyers previously admitted to keeping classified documents. .
“[T]The current location of the boxes that were removed from storage but not returned is unknown,” the affidavit reads.
These videos were mentioned in the criminal indictment filed against Trump and Nauta last month. The indictment said that in the days before the Department of Justice left to retrieve documents pursuant to a subpoena in June last year, Nauta removed 64 boxes from the storage room and took them to Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago. He only brought 30 of the boxes back to the storage room before federal authorities arrived, according to the indictment.
The less redacted version of the affidavit also refers to other alleged incidents mentioned in the indictment, including statements by a Trump attorney that he was told that “all records from the White House were stored in one location at Mar-a-Lago, the storage room.” The indictment said the documents were stored in multiple locations, including Trump’s office and residence, a ballroom stage and in a bathroom.
The government said the FBI’s search at Mar-a-Lago revealed more than 100 classified documents, including some marked “secret” and “top secret.”
The Florida federal judge who signed the August search warrant, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, had ordered that additional information from the affidavit be made public in an order earlier Wednesday.
Reinhart denied a request from media outlets, including NBC News, that the entire affidavit be unsealed following last month’s related criminal charges against the former president, but concluded that “additional parts of the request for search warrant should be unsealed”.
He said the Justice Department had agreed in a sealed docket that certain additional portions of the search warrant could be made public, but requested that other portions remain sealed to “comply with grand jury secrecy rules and to protect sources and methods of investigation”.
Reinhart said the DOJ “has met its burden of showing that its proposed redactions to the affidavit are narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interests and are the least onerous alternative to sealing the entirety of the affidavit of search warrant”.
The newly released sections of the affidavit involve information contained in the 37-count federal indictment that was unsealed last month.
Trump is charged with violating seven different laws, including 31 counts of willfully withholding national defense information and single counts of false statements and representations, conspiracy to obstruct justice, to withhold a document or record, to conceal a document by corruption, to conceal a document in a federal investigation and a scheme to conceal.
He pleaded not guilty in the case and claimed he had declassified the documents and that they were his to do with as he pleased.
Nauta – Trump’s co-defendant in the case – is expected to be arraigned on Thursday.
Reinhart ordered other parts of the search warrant made public last year.
His Wednesday order showed the Justice Department was also seeking to keep its motion for a limited unsealing of certain documents in the case secret so they could be turned over to Trump’s lawyers.
The judge said he would allow the motion to remain sealed because it ‘identifies investigative steps that have not yet been made public’, but he would allow his decision on the government’s request to be released public because it “does not disclose the contents of any discovery material.”
Reinhart suspended that order until July 13 to give the government time to decide whether to appeal.
Peter Carr, spokesman for special counsel Jack Smith, declined to comment on Wednesday.
A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.