Florida Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered on Wednesday that more of the search warrant affidavit that allowed the FBI to raid former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and resort be made public and the Justice Department has complied.
Reinhart’s ruling denied a request by media organizations that the entire affidavit be unsealed but allowed for a less-redacted version of the document to be released by the Justice Department on Wednesday.
The newly unredacted portions of the affidavit show that before the search, the FBI was aware that “between January 21, 2021, and late August 2021” Trump was storing boxes “in at least two different rooms within the premises.”
The affidavit explains that when FBI agents and DOJ officials met with Trump’s counsel at Mar-a-Lago on June 3, 2022, to retrieve documents subpoenaed by the Justice Department, they observed about 50-55 boxes inside a storage room at Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., club after 15 boxes had been provided to the National Archives and Records Administration out of the approximately 85-95 boxes Trump was believed to be in possession of.
“It appears that approximately fifteen to thirty of the FPOTUS BOXES had previously been relocated elsewhere. The FBI agents also observed that the composition of boxes differed such that fewer Bankers boxes were visible, while more plain cardboard boxes and storage bins were present. Other items were also present in the STORAGE ROOM, including a coat rack with suit jackets, as well as interior décor items such as wall art and frames,” an unredacted portion of the affidavit reads.
The document notes that “the door to the STORAGE ROOM was painted gold and had no other markings on it” and the room was “located approximately mid-way up the wall and is reachable by several wooden stairs.”
In addition to the boxes of documents, the affidavit reveals that Trump stored “merchandise such as challenge coins, garment bags, memorabilia from Mar-a-Lago such as photograph frames and other decor items” in the room.
The search warrant also contains a photograph of the storage room that was included in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal indictment against Trump.
Reinhart said the DOJ agreed that some additional parts of the search warrant could be made public, but sought to keep other parts redacted to “comply with grand jury secrecy rules and to protect investigative sources and methods.”
Trump, 77, has been charged with 37 felony counts, including willful retention of national defense information and conspiracy to obstruct justice, related to Smith’s investigation into his handling of classified White House documents.
The former commander-in-chief and 2024 GOP presidential primary front-runner has pleaded not guilty in the case and vehemently denies any wrongdoing, claiming that he had declassified the documents and that the DOJ is leading a “witch-hunt” against him.