News that FBI agents descended on and raided former President Donald Trump's Mar Arago home has prompted political law enforcement to target political opponents as directed by the Biden administration. has provoked accusations of
In practice, the process of obtaining a search warrant is controlled by a checklist of requirements before a judge approves a decision to break into someone's home.
Even the decision to seek a warrant to search the former president's property probably would have had to be approved by senior Justice Department officials, experts say.
READ MORE: Donald Trump supporters descend on Mar-a-Lago to protest FBI raid
The search is part of an investigation into whether Trump took classified records from the White House to his Florida mansion, according to people familiar with the matter.
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The National Archives and Records Administration published his Mar-a-Early this year, containing documents containing classified information, His 15-box Lago on White House records.
Here are the laws governing the process of obtaining a search warrant and government records:
How do search warrants work?
FBI agents don't just show up to search properties like Mar-a-Lago. Investigators must first obtain a search warrant. This requires convincing the judge that there is a probable cause for the crime.
Federal authorities seeking a search warrant will present the evidence and grounds on which property is required to be searched in an affidavit examined by a federal magistrate or district court judge.
Magistrates are appointed by the President and not confirmed by the Senate. Instead, they are appointed by district court judges to handle matters such as search warrant applications and defendant first court appearances.
Judge is a search warrant under oath that allows you to request additional information and question the seeking investigator. A judge will only approve a warrant if there is cause to believe there is evidence of a federal crime in a location that authorities want to search.
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Retired in 2003 Dennis Rohmel, who worked for the FBI for 28 years before doing so, said as a former president it must have been seriously considered by both the Justice Department and the judge.
Romell, the current president of the FBI's former Special Agents Association, simply kneels in the situation of "let's go get the warrant."
The search warrant application process was conducted in secret to avoid providing information to a potential search warrant. will be split. All court records relating to the warrant application will be sealed.
Read more: Trump says the FBI raided a Florida property. What legal issues does he already face?
These records generally remain sealed unless criminal proceedings are filed, and even then authorities may try to keep the affidavits private. The person whose property is being searched has the right to see the warrant, but not the affidavit.
If property is searched without a valid warrant or presumed cause, the seized evidence may be concealed, which means it cannot be used in court.
FBI Agents Association President Brian O'Hare said Tuesday that all search warrants "must meet detailed and clear rules of procedure and are the result of cooperation and consultation with relevant Justice Department attorneys." is,” he said.
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In this particular case, the execution of the warrant involved a former president and his Secret Service to protect his home. It also included notifying the details of A person familiar with the search told The Associated Press that the FBI contacted the Secret Service shortly before issuing the warrant.
Secret Agents in her service contacted the Department of Justice and were able to verify the warrant before facilitating access to the property, the person said.
What laws could be at stake?
It is not clear what violations law enforcement officials believe occurred. Numerous federal laws address the handling of classified records. This includes laws that make it a crime to delete such records and store them in unauthorized locations.
The Presidential Records Act of 1978, enacted in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, mandates that White House documents be preserved as US government property.
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READ MORE: Trump says the FBI It says it executed a search warrant in March-a-Lago House
But the law is designed to mandate the retention of records such as emails, text messages and phone records. However, no former Supreme Commander has been punished. for violating the Presidential Records Act, and there is no real mechanism for enforcing the law.
Another federal law allows a person who maintains government records to "willfully and unlawfully conceal, delete, mutilate, erase, or destroy such records." ” is a crime. If the person is convicted, the law requires a fine or imprisonment of up to three years, or both.
The law also states that a convicted person "will lose his or her position and be disqualified from holding public office under the United States." But legal experts say that's not the case in the case of the presidency, where qualifications are mandated by the constitution.
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