Federal Magistrate Judge William Matthewman has set an expedited schedule after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Department of Justice moved to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search warrant and property receipt.
Matthewman instructed DOJ to "immediately serve a copy of its Motion on counsel for former President Donald Trump."
"On or before 3.:00 p.m. Eastern time on August 12, 2022, the United States shall file a certificate of conferral advising whether President Trump opposes the Government's motion to unseal," the Judge explained.
However, if Trump moves to oppose the motion it could be weeks for the records are unveiled. In a separate docket entry suggests the motion phase of litigating the motion could last until Aug. 25.
Garland said Thursday that he had "personally approved" the search of Trump's Florida home, and condemned "unfounded attacks" on the FBI following the unprecedented action against an ex-president.
Garland did not explain the reason for the search, but stressed there was "probable cause" and said he had asked a court to make the case's documents public.
"I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter," he told reporters. "The department does not take such a decision lightly."
The extraordinary FBI raid this week on Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence has sparked a political firestorm in an already bitterly divided country and comes as he is weighing another White House run.
Former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich said today's press conference was a "shrewd and appropriate move."
"Puts Trump’s lawyers to the choice of opposing the motion to unseal or consenting to it. They lose either way," Bromwich concluded.
But leading Republicans have rallied around the former president, who was not present when the raid took place.
Trump's former vice president Mike Pence, a potential 2024 rival, expressed "deep concern" and said the raid smacked of "partisanship" by the Justice Department.
Garland criticized "unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors."
With additional reporting by AFP
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