WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday released some of the previously redacted portions of a warrant request it submitted last year seeking permission to search former President Donald Trump’s Florida property at the search for classified documents.
Key parts of the document had already been made public, but media organizations, including the Associated Press, had pushed for them to be further unsealed in light of a 38-count indictment the month the latter accusing Trump and his valet, Walt Nauta, of concealing classified files from Mar-a. -Lago of the investigators. A magistrate, Bruce Reinhart, declined to order the Justice Department to unseal the search warrant affidavit in its entirety, but asked prosecutors to publicly file a less redacted affidavit.
The newly revealed paragraphs expose important evidence prosecutors had gathered long before the search, recounting how surveillance footage from inside the property showed dozens of boxes moved by a Trump aide in the days before investigators visited. from the FBI and the Department of Justice. collect records.
During this June 3, 2022 visit, law enforcement officials received an envelope of 38 classified documents and were advised that all records sought by a subpoena were being turned over and that a ” diligent search” of the home had been carried out. But investigators had reason to believe that was not true based on the moving boxes they observed on video, and that additional recordings remained at the home.
Nauta’s movement of the boxes was detailed in last month’s indictment, but its inclusion in the search warrant affidavit helps explain why the Justice Department felt it had probable cause to search Trump’s home on August 8, 2022, and why investigators feared the documents were intentionally withheld from them.
The affidavit recounts how a person identified only as “Witness 5” was seen for several days carrying either cardboard or banker’s boxes in and out of the anteroom of the house. The affidavit does not mention Nauta by name, but the dates of the actions – as well as an FBI interview “during which the location of the boxes was the subject of significant questioning” – match the dates. cited in the indictment.
Nauta is expected to be arraigned Thursday in federal court in Miami. Trump has already pleaded not guilty to more than three dozen counts, many of which alleged the willful withholding of national defense information.