Donald Trump Hints at Fourth Amendment Violation in Mar-a-Lago 'Break-In'

Former President Donald Trump says that his legal team will fight back against the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago by filing a legal motion that may allege Fourth Amendment violations.

Trump described the raid of his home as "atrocities being perpetrated by the FBI" and the Department of Justice (DOJ) and accused law enforcement of "destroying our Country" in a series of posts to his Truth Social account on Friday. The former president hinted that he believes the Constitution's Fourth Amendment—which prohibits unreasonable search and seizures—was violated during the raid.

"Never in our Country's history has there been a time where law enforcement has been so viciously and violently involved in the life and times of politics in our Nation," Trump wrote. "My rights, together with the rights of all Americans, have been violated at a level rarely seen before in our Country.

"A major motion pertaining to the Fourth Amendment will soon be filed concerning the illegal Break-In of my home, Mar-a-Lago, right before the ever important Mid-Term Elections," he continued. "It should not be allowed to continue!"

Donald Trump Mar-a-Lago Raid FBI DOJ Constitution
Former President Donald Trump is pictured during a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin on August 5, 2022. Trump said on Friday that his lawyers would soon be filing a "major motion pertaining to the Fourth Amendment" over the August 8 FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago. Scott Olson/Getty

The Fourth Amendment mandates that searching a person's home is only legal when it is "reasonable." A court-approved search warrant, which was issued before the Mar-a-Lago raid, must be justified by "probable cause" that is "supported by oath or affirmation," including details of the area being searched and the items being searched for.

During the August 8 raid, which Trump has referred to as a "break-in" more than once, multiple boxes of classified documents, including some that reportedly may contain nuclear secrets, were seized from the former president's South Florida residence.

The raid was conducted as part of an investigation into potential violations of federal laws including the Espionage Act. While the search warrant executed during the raid has been publicly released at the DOJ's request, the affidavit that supports the warrant and presumably explains the probable cause to justify the warrant remains sealed.

Trump and many of his allies have demanded that the affidavit be publicly released, while the DOJ has opposed releasing the document over concerns that it could jeopardize their ongoing investigation and potentially endanger the confidential informant or informants who tipped off the FBI.

However, Federal magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the search warrant after determining that there was probable cause, said that parts of the affidavit could likely be released during a court hearing on Thursday. The DOJ is expected to file proposed redactions next week.

The FBI declined to comment. Newsweek reached out to the DOJ for comment.

Update 8/19/22, 8:33 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and background.