The Florida judge who signed off on the search warrant authorizing the FBI raid of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home had ties to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the New York Post reports.
Judge Bruce Reinhart approved the warrant that allowed federal agents to descend on Trump's South Florida estate Monday in what the 45th president described as an "unannounced raid on my home."
Following 10 years in private practice, Reinhart was promoted to magistrate judge in March 2018, according to the Post.
In November 2018, the Miami Herald reported that Reinhart had represented a number of Epstein's employees, including his pilots; his scheduler, Sarah Kellen; and Nadia Marcinkova, whom the disgraced financier reportedly once described as his "Yugoslavian sex slave."
A controversial deal with federal prosecutors in 2007 granted Kellen and Marcinkova immunity and allowed Epstein to plead guilty to state, instead of federal, charges. He served 13 months in county jail before being granted work release, according to the Post.
According to the Herald, Reinhart resigned from the South Florida U.S. Attorney's Office effective on Jan. 1, 2008, and went to work for Epstein's associates the next day.
While awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges, Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center in August 2019 of apparent suicide.
The Herald reported in 2018 that Reinhart was later accused in a civil lawsuit of violating Justice Department policies by switching sides in the middle of the Epstein probe.
In a 2011 affidavit, Reinhart claimed he did not have inside information about the case because he was not involved in the federal investigation of Epstein and denied any wrongdoing.
Reinhart's former colleagues, however, said in a 2013 court filing that he had "learned confidential, non-public information about the Epstein matter."
Confirming published reports about a raid at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said late Monday that the resort was "under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents," according to the Post.
The agents were reportedly searching for boxes of classified documents Trump allegedly removed in violation of federal record-keeping laws from the White House when he departed in January 2021.
In February, the National Archives and Records Administration said it alerted the Department of Justice after finding 15 boxes of documents, including some classified records, at Mar-a-Lago.
The raid on Trump's resort home comes as the House select committee continues to probe the events of the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the Capitol building as Congress was certifying the 2020 presidential election results.
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