WEST PALM BEACH, FL—A federal judge, Bruce E. Reinhart, today ordered the Department of Justice to propose and defend specific redactions to the warrant affidavit that was used to justify a search by the FBI last week of former President Trump’s private home and club, Mar-a-Lago. He ordered the government to send their proposed redactions under seal to him by August 25th.
The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
We welcome Judge Reinhart’s ruling, which recognizes the extraordinary public interest in the search warrant affidavit and requires that the affidavit be released to the public except to the extent there are compelling reasons for redactions. While the court should of course give full consideration to the arguments of the parties, the court can’t defer to the Justice Department or former President Trump on the question of sealing. The First Amendment requires the court—not the parties—to determine whether and to what extent continued sealing is justified.
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