A federal district judge on Wednesday unsealed additional portions of the affidavit the FBI used last summer to obtain a warrant to search for sensitive documents at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald J. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida, revealing some. new details about how this extraordinary process unfolded.
The newly unredacted sections of the affidavit suggested that prosecutors based their search, in part, on surveillance footage from cameras near a storage area in the basement of Mar-a-Lago showing Walt Nauta, Mr. Trump’s personal assistant, moving dozens. of boxes in and out of the room days before federal prosecutors arrived to collect any sensitive records still in Mr. Trump’s possession.
Much of the material in the affidavit unsealed on Wednesday was already released in the expansive indictment of Mr. Trump and Mr. Nauta issued in Miami last month. That indictment charged the former president with 31 counts of illegally withholding national defense information and a separate count of conspiring with Mr. Nauta to obstruct the government’s efforts to recover them.
The judge who ordered the unsealing, Bruce E. Reinhart, issued two preliminary orders unsealing separate portions of the warrant affidavit in response to media requests.
The newly revealed information included a photo of dozens of boxes in the mar-a-Lago warehouse, as well as a detailed description of the various angles captured by the security cameras outside the room.
“The door to the storage room was painted gold and had no other markings on it,” wrote the FBI agent who drafted the affidavit. “The door to the storage room is located approximately in the middle of the wall and is reached by several wooden stairs.”
Echoing the allegation, the unredacted affidavit also noted that between May 24 and June 1, 2022, Mr. Nauta removed 64 boxes from the storage facility at Mar-a-Lago but put back only 25 or 30 of them.
“The current location of the boxes removed from the warehouse but not returned to it is unknown,” the affidavit said.
The newly released version of the affidavit, however, did not disclose all the reasons federal prosecutors believed sensitive records remained at Mar-a-Lago even after two previous attempts to retrieve them from Mr. Trump.
In January 2022, Mr. Trump sent 15 boxes of government records from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives, which discovered they contained nearly 200 classified documents. That prompted federal prosecutors to issue a subpoena in May for any additional materials bearing classified markings still in Mr. Trump’s possession. In June 2022, after conducting what was meant to be a diligent search of Mar-a-Lago, one of the former president’s lawyers, M. Evan Corcoran, gave the government another set of 38 classified documents.
But even after those two initial groups of documents were returned, prosecutors suspected that Mr. Trump still had even more classified material at his residence at Mar-a-Lago and in an adjacent area. Mr. Nauta’s surveillance footage was apparently just one piece of evidence to support that belief. A lengthy section of the affidavit, which follows prosecutors’ claim that Mr. Trump did not return everything he should have, remains under seal.
It was Judge Reinhart who issued the Mar-a-Lago search warrant last August, resulting in federal agents taking away more than 100 classified documents.
Judge Reinhart was also assigned as the magistrate judge to the prosecution of Mr. Trump and Mr. Nauta. Mr. Nauta is scheduled to be arraigned in Federal District Court in Miami on Thursday.
Among the new details revealed on Wednesday was that neither Mr. Corcoran nor another lawyer for Mr. Trump told prosecutors that the former president had declassified any of the 38 classified documents handed over last June. That omission appeared to contradict an earlier statement the lawyers had made to the government, claiming that as president, Mr Trump had “absolute authority” to declassify any material he wanted.
The newly redacted portions of the affidavit also say that Mr. Corcoran told the government that he had been informed that there were no confidential records “in any private office space or other location in Mar-a-Lago” — a claim, that the search for the property revealed to be false.
In March, a federal judge in Washington ordered Mr. Corcoran to provide records and testify to a grand jury investigating the case, working around the usual protections of attorney-client privilege because she believed Mr. Trump had misled Mr. Corcoran about where. sensitive records were kept at Mar-a-Lago.