Justice Department Spokesman Anthony Coley said: “The United States has filed a submission under seal per the Court’s order of Aug. 22. The Justice Department respectfully declines further comment as the Court considers the matter.”
US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart will now consider whether to release the affidavit, and with any redactions. The timeline for that decision is not known. The affidavit lays out why investigators believe there was probable cause that crimes had been committed. The warrant authorized the FBI to search former President Donald Trump’s home and private club earlier this month
Justice Department prosecutors have emphasized that they need continued secrecy as to not disrupt the ongoing criminal investigation — especially as they keep confidential grand jury activity and protect witnesses who have or could share information.
The media outlets said the brief should be made public with any redactions necessary to protect the ongoing investigation. Additionally, the media companies asked for the judge to order that, going forward, any documents the Justice Department files under seal in the transparency dispute also be filed publicly with the appropriate redactions.
“As this Court has also recognized, there is little interest in maintaining secrecy with respect to facts about the investigation that the government has already publicly confirmed to be accurate,” the news outlets’ request said.
At the minimum, the media organizations argued, “any portions of the Brief that recite those facts about the investigation, without revealing additional ones not yet publicly available — in addition to any other portions that pose no threat to the investigation — should be unsealed.”
“If and when additional facts come to light and are confirmed to be accurate, or certain facts no longer pose a threat to the investigation for any other reason, there is no justification for maintaining them under seal either,” the news outlets wrote. “Furthermore, any legal arguments in the government’s filings should be made public, even if some of the facts the government recounts remain under seal.”
This story has been updated with additional details.