WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A federal judge on Thursday ordered the government to redact and ultimately release a version of the highly sensitive warrant affidavit that was used to justify a search by the F.B.I. last week of former President Donald J. Trump’s private home and club.
Ruling from the bench, the judge, Bruce E. Reinhart, said that there were portions of the affidavit that “could be presumptively unsealed.”
“Whether those portions would be meaningful for the public or the media,” he added, was not for him to decide.
Judge Reinhart’s surprising decision struck a middle course between the Justice Department, which wanted to keep the affidavit entirely under wraps as its investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of classified documents continued, and a group of news organizations, which requested that it be released in full to the public.
Warrant affidavits — which are written and sworn to by federal agents before a search takes place — contain detailed information about criminal investigations and are almost always kept under seal until charges are filed.
As part of his ruling, Judge Reinhart ordered the government to send him under seal proposed redactions to the warrant affidavit by next Thursday at noon. He said he would review the suggestions and decide if he agreed with them.
“This is going to be a considered, careful process,” Judge Reinhart said.