Eight search warrants and affidavits have been filed in connection with the federal case involving former President Donald Trump’s mishandling of classified documents that resulted in a series of criminal charges against him, according to recently unsealed court motions.
The motions were filed in connection with ongoing efforts by media organizations, including NBC News, to gain access to much of the information in the search warrant issued at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida, last year.
Prosecutors filed a motion in June with the federal court overseeing the case, seeking permission to release the arrest warrants and accompanying documents to the legal teams representing Trump and his aide Walt Nauta as part of disclosure requirements now that both men have been charged.
In that motion, which was unsealed Tuesday, prosecutors said they have not publicly disclosed the contents, locations or devices sought by those search warrants and asked the court to keep the details of those warrants secret.
The existence of one such warrant was already known because it was executed on Trump’s estate last year and he announced it happened on his social media website. The indictment in the case also made it clear that prosecutors had obtained other information, including photos and cell phone messages, but the prosecution did not indicate who obtained that information, either voluntarily or through court orders.
The other seven search warrants do not necessarily mean that FBI agents and Justice Department officials searched seven other physical locations.
The additional search warrants could have been for storage facilities, other parts of Mar-a-Lago property, phones, tablets, computers, databases or digital accounts.
Federal prosecutors argued in the motion that those orders must remain secret to prevent sensitive information from being made public.
“As a result, the government has never publicly disclosed the existence of any of its search warrant requests, or even the number of warrants in question; sought a limited opening of the instant search warrant request only after the former president publicly disclosed its existence,” they said.
The federal judge overseeing the classified documents case against Trump ruled last week that the criminal trial will begin on May 20, 2024 in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Trump faces 37 counts tied to allegations that he willfully withheld national defense information, conspired to obstruct justice and made false statements. Nauta, a former White House valet, faces six felony counts stemming from allegations that he helped the former president hide national security files from investigators after leaving the White House. Both Trump and Nauta have pleaded not guilty.