Fox News host Trey Gowdy explained Sunday why the pursuit to unseal the affidavit in the Mar-a-Lago search may be short-sighted.
What did Gowdy say?
Ahead of Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart potentially forcing the Justice Department to release a redacted version, Gowdy pointed out the affidavit only provides one side of the story.
That side, according to Gowdy, is heavily biased in favor of the government.
“Even if we do get to see the affidavit, it’s just one side of the argument. It’s the government’s side. The target of the search doesn’t get to appear in front of a judge, and he doesn’t get to argue against the search or the affidavit,” Gowdy explained.
“The information has not been cross-examined. And the rules of evidence, which do apply in court, don’t apply to search warrants,” he pointed out.
Just as important, Gowdy, who is a former federal prosecutor, noted the burden of proof to obtain a search warrant is just probable cause, whereas a criminal conviction requires beyond a reasonable doubt, a much higher standard.
“It takes probable cause to search, but it takes a whole lot more than that to convict. Whatever’s in the affidavit, it may or may not wind up being true or proven,” Gowdy explained. “And it certainly isn’t the whole story, because only the government participates in seeking a search warrant. We don’t know and we won’t know until both sides present their facts and test the evidence on the other side.”
Trey Gowdy: Mar-a-Lago raid eroded trust in the DOJ, FBI
Will it even make a difference?
In a world of tribal politics, ardent Trump supporters believe he is innocent, while fierce Trump critics believe he is guilty. So will releasing the affidavit even make a difference?
“Does the evidence still matter or have people already made up their minds?” Gowdy went on to say. “Despite what others may tell you, waiting and wanting to see the evidence is good. It’s even better when the jury hasn’t already made up its mind.”
The court of public opinion aside, the release of the affitavit is not necessarily a win for transparency.
In fact, Reinhart indicated Monday that extensive government redactions could strip the affidavit of any real public significance and render it meaningless.
“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the Government,” Reinhart said.