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The sealed FBI evidence that led to the search of Trump’s home during the hearing

Sealed files containing evidence the US Department of Justice presented to seek court approval to search former President Donald Trump’s Florida home will be the focus of a hearing on Thursday, when news organizations attempt to persuade a federal judge that the public deserves to see the details.

The Justice Department objected to the release of the affidavit containing the evidence, giving investigators probable cause to believe that crimes took place at Trump’s Palm Beach home.

The search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort was part of a federal investigation into whether Trump unlawfully deleted documents when he left office in January 2021 after losing the presidential election to by Joe Biden.

The Department of Justice is investigating violations of three laws, including a provision in the Espionage Act that prohibits the possession of national defense information and another law that makes it a crime to destroy, conceal or knowingly falsifying records with intent to obstruct an investigation.

Lawyers for multiple outlets, including The New York Times, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, ABC News and NBC News, will ask U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart on Thursday to unseal the affidavit and other related documents, saying the right of public knowledge and the historical significance of the search outweighs any argument for closing the files.

In statements on social media, Trump called on the court to unseal the unredacted version of the affidavit “in the interest of transparency.” But there is no indication that his attorneys have filed motions asking federal court in West Palm Beach to do so.

Trump says the research was politically motivated. He also said he had a standing order to declassify the documents in question.

However, none of the three statutes cited by the Justice Department in the search warrant require showing that the documents were classified.

The search for Mar-a-Lago marked a significant escalation in one of the many federal and state investigations Trump has faced since his tenure and in private matters. The Republican former president suggested he could run for the White House again in 2024, but made no commitment.

Last week, US Attorney General Merrick Garland took the highly unusual step of publicly unsealing the search warrant, two attachments and a redacted version of the receipt showing the items seized by the FBI during his search on August 8.

Records showed the FBI seized boxes containing 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were labeled “top secret” – the highest level of classification reserved for the most closely held US national security information.

These documents are usually kept in special government facilities because their disclosure could cause serious damage to national security.

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Post expires at 4:26am on Sunday August 28th, 2022