WASHINGTON (New York Post) — The Florida federal magistrate judge who signed off on a search warrant authorizing the FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort left the local US Attorney’s office more than a decade ago to rep employees of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein who had received immunity in the long-running sex-trafficking investigation of the financier.
Sources tell The Post that Judge Bruce Reinhart approved the warrant that enabled federal agents to converge on the palatial South Florida estate on Monday in what Trump called an “unannounced raid on my home.”
Reinhart was elevated to magistrate judge in March 2018 after 10 years in private practice. That November, the Miami Herald reported that he had represented several of Epstein’s employees — including, by Reinhart’s own admission to the outlet, Epstein’s pilots; his scheduler, Sarah Kellen; and Nadia Marcinkova, who Epstein once reportedly described as his “Yugoslavian sex slave.”
Kellen and Marcinkova were among Epstein’s lieutenants who were granted immunity as part of a controversial 2007 deal with federal prosecutors that allowed the pervert to plead guilty to state charges rather than federal crimes. Epstein wound up serving just 13 months in county jail and was granted work release.
According to the outlet, Reinhart resigned from the South Florida US Attorney’s Office effective on New Year’s Day 2008 and went to work for Epstein’s cohorts the following day. Epstein, who was found dead in August 2019 of an apparent suicide in the Manhattan Correctional Center while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges, had hired a stable of high-powered lawyers, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Reinhart was later named in a civil lawsuit that accused him of violating Justice Department policies by switching sides in the middle of the Epstein investigation, suggesting he had used inside information about the probe to build favor with the notorious defendant, the Herald reported in 2018.
In a 2011 affidavit, Reinhart denied he had done anything improper and insisted that since he was not involved in the federal investigation of Epstein, he was not privy to inside information about the case.
However, in a 2013 court filing, Reinhart’s former colleagues contradicted him, saying that he had “learned confidential, non-public information about the Epstein matter.” Reinhart noted to the Herald in response that a complaint filed against him by a lawyer for Epstein’s victims had been dismissed by the Justice Department.
In his 12 years as a federal prosecutor, according to his official biography, Reinhart “managed a docket that covered the full spectrum of federal crimes, including narcotics, violent crimes, public corruption, financial frauds, child pornography and immigration.”
Reinhart is one of three federal magistrate judges in the West Palm Beach offices of the US District Court for the Southern District Court of Florida, along with William Matthewman and Ryon McCabe.
Two recent warrant applications were assigned to Reinhart and entered into the court system on Monday, the Miami Herald reported, but those warrants and information about who they targeted remain sealed. Records show another warrant was issued by Reinhart on Friday, but its contents were also sealed.
Trump confirmed media reports of a raid at his Florida resort on Monday evening, saying Mar-a-Lago was “under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”
The agents were reportedly searching the seaside property for boxes of classified documents Trump allegedly brought to the ritzy resort after he left the White House in January 2021, which would be a violation of federal record-keeping laws.
The National Archives and Records Administration said in February that it found classified documents in 15 boxes at Mar-a-Lago and alerted the FBI.
The removal of classified documents to unauthorized locations is banned under federal law, although Trump had wide powers when he was president to declassify documents.
The raid on Mar-a-Lago comes amid the House select committee’s continuing investigation into Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol as Congress met to certify the 2020 presidential election results.
A federal grand jury is also investigating the riot and Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.