The Volokh Conspiracy

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Latest Order Regarding Unsealing of Mar-A-Lago Search Warrant Affidavit


From Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart (S.D. Fla.) today in U.S. v. Sealed Search Warrant:

I have reviewed the Government's memorandum of law and proposed redactions to the search warrant Affidavit. ECF No. 89. I am fully advised in the entire record, including the contents of the Affidavit.

1. I find that the Government has met its burden of showing a compelling reason/good cause to seal portions of the Affidavit because disclosure would reveal (1) the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties, (2) the investigation's strategy, direction, scope, sources, and methods, and (3) grand jury information protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e). As further explanation for this finding, I incorporate by reference my Order on Motions to Unseal. ECF No. 80; see also United States v. Kooistra, 796 F.2d 1390, 1391 (11th Cir. 1986) (findings must be "sufficient for a reviewing court to be able to determine, in conjunction with a review of the sealed documents themselves, what important interest or interests the district court found sufficiently compelling to justify the denial of public access.").

2. Based on my independent review of the Affidavit, I further find that the Government has met its burden of showing that its proposed redactions are narrowly tailored to serve the Government's legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation and are the least onerous alternative to sealing the entire Affidavit.


1. The Intervenors' Motion to Unseal [ECF No. 4] is GRANTED IN PART.

2. On or before noon Eastern time on Friday, August 26, 2022, the Government shall file in the public docket a version of the Affidavit containing the redactions proposed in ECF No. 89-1.

What exactly this means (i.e., just how much will be redacted and how much will be disclosed), we'll learn tomorrow, since for now ECF Nos. 89 & 89-1 themselves remain sealed.