By Robert Willmann
Scheduled today, 18 August 2022, is a hearing in the federal magistrate’s court in the West Palm Beach Division of the Southern District of Florida, about whether to unseal the affidavit supporting the search warrant executed at Donald Trump’s residence in Palm Beach last Monday, 8 August. Starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern time, media organizations and two public interest groups will present arguments in favor of unsealing all or part of the affidavit. Whether any of the requestors will try to put on evidence is not known.
After the first three filings on 10 August with the court clerk asking that documents be unsealed, the participants today from the news media who have filed are the American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC); the Associated Press; Cable News Network, Inc. (CNN); CBS Broadcasting Inc.; Dow Jones and Company, publisher of the Wall Street Journal; the E.W. Scripps Company; the Gannett Company, doing business as the Palm Beach Post; the McClatchy Company, LLC, doing business as the Miami Herald; NBC Universal Media, LLC, doing business as NBC News; The New York Times Company; the Times Publishing Company, doing business as the Tampa Bay Times; and the WP Company LLC, doing business as the Washington Post. Two public interest groups have appeared — Judicial Watch, Inc. and The Florida Center for Government Accountability. One of the first three filers, the Albany (New York) Times Union newspaper, had asked that the search warrant and inventory of what was taken be unsealed. Since those items were unsealed last week Thursday, the request by the Times Union was ruled moot, because it did not expressly ask for the underlying affidavit. A search warrant is actually a separate document from the affidavit supporting its issuance, and so the federal magistrate, Bruce Reinhart, used that little distinction to moot out the Times Union.
So “media intervenors” are superior to actual US citizens? That is so kind of the magistrate to let the rest of us know just how subordinate we all are.
Redacted version of the affidavit ordered by the magistrate today. He says the Govt failed to meet it’s burden of proof and that he’s leaning towards releasing it. We’ll see.
What’s also interesting is that the documents released thus far show that it was the FBI, not Merrick Garland that sought the warrant and that it was an FBI agent that provided said affidavit.
And speaking of the FBI, who doing you think they put in charge of their Mar A Lago raid and “investigation”? Why, none other than some of our old friends from Crossfire Hurricane:
Why would you expect Garland to seek the warrant rather than the FBI agents and line prosecutors handling the case? If he was seeking the warrant, it would smell of political influence. It would be even worse if, as the Trump kids believed, Biden was directing the investigation and warrants. It’s not his place to do that.
he approved it personally.
He approved it. He didn’t originate it.
And President Biden (appropriately) structured the whole system of approval so he had absolutely no input or knowledge of what was being done at all until it became public.
“…it would smell of political influence.”
As opposed to now when it smells like…?
List the leaks of affidavit content by each named media. Confirm or deny each published leak. Media leaks are on trial too.
I was a volunteer small claims judge for five years in our local Municipal Court. No lawyers are used by the litigants, just regular people coming to make their small claims against each other for damages under $5000.
I would virtually always rule from the bench and hope everyone left understanding why they had won or lost. This also offered the opportunity for follow-up questions, because each case provided a chance for legal education. To me it was pretty easy to make immediate rulings, since most were written contract cases, or failure to have written contracts, or landlord/tenant disputes which have express controlling state law.
However, more often my small claims colleagues would “take the ruling under advisement” which left little satisfaction for all the parties involved, along with a worrisome long wait for the supplicants. I can see this work several ways – some issues do require more legal research and sorting out the key issues. Those are proper to take under advisement.
But taking under advisement was also a copout for the lazy judge who had a poor operating knowledge of the law, or the one who simply did not want confrontation. My own sense was it was hard enough for regular people to face a court hearing, as informal as small claims hearing are, and they deserved an immediate ruling and the opportunity to bring their issues to an expedient end.
Acknowledged, rulings at this federal warrant level have nothing to with small claims hearings – just insights into differing judicial personalities that factor into the world of law. Because unfortunately a “biased” judge can use the extra time to craft a politically expedient ruling, as well as a legally expeditious ruling.
Justice delayed is justice denied.