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.