By ERIC TUCKER
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Thursday submitted to a judge a redacted version of the affidavit it relied on when it federal agents searched the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump to look for classified documents.
The document was filed under seal and it was not immediately clear when it might be made public, or how much of it will be disclosed.
“The United States has filed a submission under seal per the Court’s order of Aug. 22,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement. “The Justice Department respectfully declines further comment as the Court considers the matter.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart had given the department until Thursday at noon to propose to him the redactions to the affidavit it wanted to make before any portion of it was released to the public. But he acknowledged on Monday that it was possible that the redactions, or blacked-out portions, would be so extensive as to make the document essentially incomprehensible.
The affidavit is likely to contain key information about the FBI’s basis for executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach on Aug. 8. Documents already made public as part of the investigation show that the FBI retrieved from the property 11 sets of classified documents, including information marked at the top secret level.
Multiple news media organizations, including The Associated Press, argued in court last week for the disclosure of the document, citing the extraordinary public interest in the federal search of a former president’s home. The Justice Department has opposed the release of the affidavit, saying it could reveal information about witnesses and about sensitive investigative techniques.
Reinhart has said that though he was sensitive to the department’s concerns, he was not inclined to keep the entire document sealed. He directed officials to give him a version of the document redacting the information it wants to keep secret.
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