The warrant and inventory of what was seized at former President Donald Trump's Florida residence have now been released.
KATC's parent company, E.W. Scripps, is among several media corporations who filed Motions urging a south Florida court to release the warrant.
On Monday, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, a resort owned by Trump in Palm Beach, and which he refers to as one of his homes. Although Trump's attorneys have had copies of the warrant and the inventory of what was taken since the warrant was executed, Trump and his supporters have repeatedly called for its public release.
Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland held a press conference in response to Trump's statements, denying that the FBI is corrupt and announcing that he had asked the court to unseal the warrant.
E.W. Scripps, together with CBS, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press and CNN, all filed Motions to Intervene in the case, urging the court to grant Garland's Motion to Unseal.
It's important that the public know what is in the warrant, and what was seized by the FBI, the Motion states.
"Given the former President’s own public discussion, the seriousness of the allegations against him, and the condemnations of law enforcement by his supporters, disclosure of the Search Warrant Records could not be more in the public interest," the Motion states.
The Motion reiterates what some of Trump's attorneys have stated about the nature of the warrant.
"According to Trump’s lawyer, the warrant was aimed at finding classified documents that allegedly were removed from the White House and brought to Mar-a-Lago in violation of federal law. Federal agents reportedly broke a lock, opened the former President’s safe, riffled through closets, and seized approximately 12 boxes of documents containing what may be highly sensitive, classified records," the Motion states. "The materials that may have unlawfully been removed implicate Trump in potential violations of the Presidential Records Act and laws governing the handling of classified materials. Not since the Nixon Administration has a President been the subject of such a dramatic and public criminal process. The Media Intervenors are among the news organizations that have reported on the search and are attempting to shed light on the federal government’s unprecedented actions and motivations."
Yesterday, Trump also called on the court to release the documents.
"Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents, even though they have been drawn up by radical left Democrats and possible future political opponents, who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, much as they have done for the last 6 years," Trump said in a statement.
The Motion includes a copy of Trump's August 8 statement about the warrant, as well as discussion regarding its content. In light of everything that is known, is being said, and remains unknown, the Motion requests a public hearing on the issue.
"In light of the Court’s task in reviewing the interests that the government or Trump may assert, considering the many facts already publicly known about the investigation of Trump, and weighing the colossal public interest in the records, a public hearing would assist the Court and further the public’s interest in transparency," the Motion states.
In addition to the search warrant itself and the return, which lists what items the FBI took away, the Motion requests that any supporting affidavits also be unsealed. In general, a supporting affidavit lists for the judge considering the warrant evidence that investigators have obtained which lead them to believe there is probable cause for a warrant to be issued. In general, a search warrant is requested by law enforcement, and signed by a judge - if the judge determines there is probable cause for a search.
"Transparency of the search warrant process, especially here, clearly would “operate as a curb on prosecutorial or judicial misconduct,” as the former President and his supporters have alleged. Transparency would also shed light on the basis for the FBI raid, including whether it resulted from credible information that the former President may have committed violations of federal law. Therefore, to the extent that the government’s motion to unseal does not include the supporting affidavits or any other materials filed in connection with the search warrant, the Media Intervenors request that those Search Warrant Records also be unsealed.
The government's Motion to unseal doesn't indicate if the affidavits are included; it only mentions the warrant with two attachments and the receipt for property that was taken during the execution of the warrant. You can read it for yourself here. What was released Friday did not include the Affidavit; it was just the warrant and a list of items taken away. NPR has posted the documents; you can see for yourself here.