The federal judge who signed off on the warrant authorizing the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort donated huge sums to Barrack Obama's presidential campaign and victory fund in 2008. Bruce Reinhart donated $1,000 to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, according to federal filings.
Reinhart also added another $1,000 to the Obama Victory Fund that same cycle, according to federal filings. Moreover, the donations were made just months after Reinhart left his job at the local Attorney's office and started working as a defense attorney to employees of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who had received immunity in the long-running sex-trafficking investigation of the financier.
Before approving Monday's "unannounced" search of Mar-a-Lago, Reinhart represented several employees of Epstein. According to a New York Post report, Reinhart quit the local US Attorney's office in 2008 to open a private practice and help staff members, including the Lolita Express pilots and his scheduler.
Reinhart was also accused of violating the rules of the Justice Department by using information from his previous employment to his advantage in the private sector, a charge he vigorously rejected, according to the outlet.
Moreover, court filings show that the controversial judge also made donations to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. He initially contributed $1,000 to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and another $1,000 to the Obama Victory fund.
According to federal documents, Reinhart later gave $500 to Jeb Bush's unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign against Trump.
Reinhart was promoted to the position of magistrate judge in March 2018 after working as a private attorney for 10 years. In November, the Miami Herald claimed that Reinhart had defended numerous of Epstein's workers, including Nadia Marcinkova, whom Epstein allegedly once referred to as his "Yugoslavian sex slave."
Reinhart, according to his own admission had also defended Epstein's pilots and his scheduler, Sarah Kellen besides defending Marcinkova. Kellen and Marcinkova were among Epstein's lieutenants who received immunity in a controversial 2007 deal with federal authorities.
This permitted Epstein to plead guilty to state counts rather than federal offenses. Epstein was given work release after serving only 13 months in county jail.
The Herald, which relied on court records, reported that Reinhart left the South Florida US Attorney's Office on New Year's Day 2008 and started working for Epstein's associates the next day.
Epstein was found dead in the Manhattan Correctional Center in August 2019 of an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking allegations. He had retained a team of well-connected attorneys for his defense in the late 2000s, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
However, he courted controversy while working for Epstein's associates also. The Herald reported in 2018 that Reinhart was later implicated in a civil lawsuit brought by two of Epstein's victims who claimed he switched sides during the Epstein investigation, violating Justice Department policies, and that he did it in order to build favor with the convicted pedophile.
The FBI raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday in a bid to determine whether Trump stole sensitive documents from the White House and transported them to his Florida property. In a long statement, the former president disclosed the raid and claimed that the feds broke into a safe at his house while looking for the documents.
Although 15 boxes of secret documents are said to have been taken by the agents, the FBI has remained silent about what was inside.
"Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before," Trump said in astatement Monday. "After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate."
The federal magistrate in West Palm Beach received two requests from agents, according to sources quoted by the New York Post before the raid was conducted.
The office comprises three judges - William Matthewman, Ryon McCabe and Reinhart, who were assigned the cases. The two warrant applications that were submitted to the system on Monday do not disclose any mention of Trump as the intended target.