The Department of Justice (DOJ) sought Mar-a-Lago security footage from early January onward, according to a court filing that was unsealed by a federal judge on Sept. 13.
The new information surfaced after a federal judge allowed the DOJ to request to unseal more portions of the affidavit that was used to obtain an FBI warrant to search former President Donald Trump’s residence. The new version of the affidavit—still heavily redacted—was uploaded to the docket on Sept. 13.
In the document (pdf), the DOJ asked in a May subpoena for video footage from Jan. 10 onward. It came about a week before the former president’s team handed over about 15 boxes of documents and records to the National Archives, which, in turn, referred them to the DOJ.
From the affidavit, it’s not clear why the DOJ sought the video footage.
“A group of business entities associated with [Trump] confirmed that the Trump Organization maintains security cameras in the vicinity of the (Mar-a-Lago) STORAGE ROOM and that on June 24, 2022 counsel for the Trump Organization agreed to accept service of a grand jury subpoena for footage from those cameras,” the unredacted portion reads.
The grand jury subpoena was served on that day and sought “any and all” surveillance camera footage or images on the Mar-a-Lago property from Jan. 10 “to present,” according to the affidavit.
On July 6, the Trump Organization handed over a hard drive to FBI agents, it states. The remaining pages are redacted, so it’s not clear what the hard drive contained.
Neither Trump nor his team has issued a public statement regarding the subpoenas over the video footage.
Members of Trump’s family and his lawyers have said that the former president remotely observed FBI agents carrying out the raid on Aug. 8 via CCTV cameras. His son Eric Trump told Fox News in August that his team may ultimately release the video footage to the public.
The Justice Department has stated in a separate court filing that it has “developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.” It didn’t explain how the DOJ came to that conclusion.
Also on Sept. 13, the DOJ again urged U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to lift a hold on portions of the FBI investigation after she granted the Trump team’s request for an independent arbiter known as a special master to review the documents. Concurrently, Cannon also ordered the agency to stop its review of the seized materials pending a future court order or the completion of the yet-to-be-named special master’s review.
Last week, the DOJ and Trump’s attorneys submitted special master candidates. This week, the DOJ issued a filing stating that one of Trump’s proposed candidates would be suitable to handle those duties.
The DOJ wrote in court filings that it would accept Raymond Dearie, former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, to act as a special master.