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Judge unseals warrant for search of Anthony Weiner's computer

Then-New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner leaves his apartment building in New York July 24, 2013.

AP/Richard Drew

A federal judge in New York has unsealed the search warrant obtained by the FBI to search Anthony Weiner’s computer for emails related to Secretary Clinton’s private server.

The warrant was issued on Oct. 30, just two days after FBI Director James Comey had sent a letter to Congress revealing the possible existence of new emails related to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

The Department of Justice had previously announced that the investigation into whether Clinton mishandled classified information was closed, with a decision not to bring charges against anyone. Comey’s letter to Congress said the new emails were discovered as part of an unrelated investigation, but he did not name or give details about the other investigation.

According to the warrant, law enforcement officials had asked the judge to authorize the search of a silver Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series laptop computer. The warrant states that those officials had information indicating that there were thousands of emails on the laptop that could be related to the Clinton investigation.

The FBI’s application for the search warrant said that the laptop had never been authorized for the storage or transmission of classified or national defense information and that a complete forensic analysis and review of the device would allow the FBI to determine whether classified information had been mishandled or if the device had been hacked. 

The warrant was unsealed after E. Random Schoenberg sued to unseal the search warrant. He made it clear he was not interested in the “unrelated investigation” and was only seeking the warrant for the emails related to Secretary Clinton.

In deciding whether to unseal the warrant, the judge noted that Clinton “has little remaining privacy interest in the release of her documents identify her as the subject of her investigation.”

The Department of Justice initially opposed the unsealing, then withdrew its opposition and instead asked only that the documents be unsealed with certain redactions. The warrant was redacted to hide the identity of the subject of that other investigation – who has been independently confirmed to be Anthony Weiner. The redactions also protect the identity of the law enforcement agents who worked on the case and applied for the warrant.

Lawyers for Huma Abedin filed a letter in the case saying that the government never provided Abedin or her estranged ex-husband Anthony Weiner with a copy of the warrant.

Under federal law the officer executing the warrant must give a copy to the person whose property is taken.  This case is slightly more complicated by the fact that the laptop had already been confiscated for the other investigation, a sexting scandal involving Weiner and a minor.