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US Justice Department seeks to unseal Trump search warrant amid intense public interest

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The US Justice Department has taken the unusual step of seeking to unseal the search warrant executed this week at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

CNN reports the motion to release the classified details cites “intense public interest” as a reason behind the move.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Friday morning (Australian time) he “personally approved” the decision to seek the warrant as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents that may have been brought to the Palm Beach, Florida, residence.

The search warrant was executed by the FBI on Monday (local time).

CNN’s legal analyst Elie Honig described the latest development as “remarkable and unusual”.

It’s reported that if made public, the warrant would likely list information such as the place to be searched and a description of the items being searched for.

The latest court filing states that at the time the warrant was initially executed, the Department provided notice directly to former President Trump’s counsel.

“The Department did not make any public statements about the search, and the search apparently attracted little or no public attention as it was taking place.

“Later that same day, former President Trump issued a public statement acknowledging the execution of the warrant.

“In the days since, the search warrant and related materials have been the subject of significant interest and attention from news media organisations and other entities.”

The department argues for unsealing the search warrant, citing this “intense public interest”.

The FBI searched Mr Trump’s Florida estate on Monday, an escalation of the federal investigation into whether he illegally removed records from the White House as he was leaving office in January 2021.

However Mr Trump claims his family and company have been targets of “an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media”.

He made the comment while refusing to answer questions during an appearance before the New York state attorney general in a civil investigation into his family’s business practices.

“If there was any question in my mind, the raid of my home, Mar-a-Lago, on Monday by the FBI, just two days prior to this deposition, wiped out any uncertainty,” he said.

Donald Trump declined to answer questions under oath in New York. Photo: Getty

Mr Trump has been flirting publicly with the question of running again for president in 2024 but has not said clearly whether he will do so.

He has had to deal with a slew of legal troubles since he left office, after his supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an unsuccessful bid to overturn his election loss.

Mr Trump continues to claim falsely that the election was stolen through widespread voting fraud.

-with AAP

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