05/28/2024

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Prosecutors release ‘less-redacted version’ of Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit containing detailed information about Trump’s ‘personal suite’

Main image: A United States Secret Service surveillance tower is keeping watch on any potential threats from the outside that could affect the Mar-a-Lago Club on South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, Florida, United States, on April 4, 2024. (Photo by Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via AP); Inset: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., Friday, April 12, 2024, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday released a new tranche of materials related to the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

While the defendants have been frustrated so far in their efforts to release a floor plan of what has been called the “Winter White House,” one of the documents in the omnibus filing contains a detailed description of a key part of the property: the master bedroom suites.

On Aug. 8, 2022, federal agents raided former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach compound — part residence, part private club — returning with file boxes upon file boxes containing what federal prosecutors allege were illegally retained classified documents.

Trump’s personal valet, Waltine “Walt” Nauta was also named as an original co-defendant. In a superseding indictment, Mar-a-Lago maintenance chief Carlos de Oliveira was added as a co-defendant.

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    Under the terms of an August 2023 court order, the government’s submission includes “a less-redacted version of the search warrant affidavit at issue” in the case, a separate explanatory filing explains.

    “The government filed this less-redacted version of the affidavit in accordance with an order issued in the Trump criminal matter requiring the parties to file briefs and related materials previously filed under seal ‘in unredacted form,’ except to redact ‘potential government witness names …, ancillary names, and PII,” the explanatory document reads. “The parties were also permitted to ‘make limited redactions’ to ‘any grand jury material clearly falling under Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)‘ that was ‘quoted or specifically referenced.’ The attached version of the affidavit accordingly removes any redactions that fall outside of these categories.”

    The search warrant affidavit is included in a series of filings attached as the first exhibit to the government’s motion in opposition to Nauta’s motion to dismiss on grounds of selective and vindictive prosecution. Special counsel Jack Smith originally filed the document in early March and submitted a version to defense counsel in late April.

    An additional exhibit attached to the government’s motion contains a never-before-seen transcript between investigators and a key Mar-a-Lago employee detailing the journey of one box of documents.

    In the less-redacted version of the search warrant affidavit, investigators describe an unidentified witness who claimed to have substantial firsthand knowledge of where and how several of the file boxes central to the case against Trump were stored, who had access to those boxes, and what efforts were made to restrict such access.

    That witness also claimed to have detailed knowledge of the walls, rooms and hallways that make up Mar-a-Lago itself.

    “WITNESS [redacted] described FPOTUS’s residential suite, referred to as the Owners’ Quarters, as accessible via steel sliding doors,” the document reads. “The first room is known as Pine Hall, which serves as a sitting room. Pine Hall then accesses a hallway known as French Hall. From within French Hall, there are two available doors. The door to the left leads to FPOTUS’s personal suite, and the door to the right leads to FPOTUS’s spouse’s personal suite. Those two suites are additionally connected by a door between them.”

    The witness goes on to say that they never observed any of the boxes in Trump’s bedroom areas. A second witness, again unidentified, said, however, that they occasionally observed “a few” but never “more than three boxes at a time” in those areas. The filing goes on to note, advancing a slight dispute or contradiction, that all 15 of the boxes turned over to the National Archives were said to have been stored in Pine Hall at some point by a person identified as Witness 5.

    An attorney for the first witness later told investigators their client “may not have been able to fully observe the entirety” of Trump’s personal suite, according to the search warrant affidavit.

    That witness’ attorney also provided some estimates for the size of each suite.

    “[T]he dimensions of FPOTUS’s personal suite are approximately 16 feet by 28 feet, and the dimensions of FPOTUS’s spouse’s personal suite are approximately 20 feet by 28 feet,” the filing reads.

    The less-redacted search warrant affidavit is available in the omnibus filing here.

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    The post Prosecutors release ‘less-redacted version’ of Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit containing detailed information about Trump’s ‘personal suite’ first appeared on Law & Crime.