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Bruce Reinhart unsealed: The Justice of the Peace choose on the middle of the Justice Dept’s inquiry into Trump’s dealing with of categorised information


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Florida Justice of the Peace Choose Bruce Reinhart, Aug. 18, 2022.

Sketch by William Hennessy Jr.


The third week of March 2018 was a momentous one for the Reinhart-Bell household. 

That Monday, Florida’s then-Governor Rick Scott appointed federal prosecutor Carolyn Bell to function a state circuit court docket choose.

Days later, Bell’s husband — Bruce Reinhart — was sworn in as a federal Justice of the Peace choose in South Florida, beating out 63 different candidates for the job.

Fairly per week, however nothing in comparison with the week they simply had — and maybe those that lie forward. 

Since Reinhart authorised an FBI warrant that approved a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, he and his household have change into the goal of violent threats from right-wing web trolls in search of to discredit and intimidate the choose. 

His handle and private data have been posted on-line. “I see a rope round his neck,” wrote one poster on a pro-Trump web site. Anti-Semitic threats adopted.

“That is actually an terrible state of affairs and fully undeserved with somebody who’s simply making an attempt to do his job. And to be personally attacked is simply completely incorrect,” mentioned Michelle Suskauer, a household pal of greater than 15 years.

Late final week, Reinhart unsealed the search warrant and on Thursday, heard arguments from media organizations and the Justice Division, battling over whether or not to launch the warrant’s underlying affidavit. That doc explains the federal government’s motive for in search of the search warrant and presently stands out as the nation’s most politically charged items of paper.

Reinhart mentioned he was open to unsealing no less than some parts of the affidavit and requested the federal government for recommended redactions.

Within the courtroom, a lawyer for media organizations in search of to make the affidavit public informed Reinhart, “I receives a commission to be nosy generally.” 

“I receives a commission to say ‘no’ generally,” Reinhart quipped. 

Buddies and acquaintances say that kind of congenial, but fast retort is classic Reinhart. Those that have spoken with him since final week informed CBS Information he stays unfazed by the political vortex swirling round him and the threats he now faces. 

South Florida protection lawyer Bruce Zimet has recognized Reinhart professionally for shut to twenty years and had a case earlier than Reinhart final Thursday. 

“He carried out himself as common,” Zimet mentioned. “If there have been different issues on his thoughts, it did not present within the continuing I had in entrance of him.”

One other supply informed CBS Information Reinhart now has a safety element offered by the U.S. Marshals and is taking the threats critically, however is resolved to adjudicate the Trump matter as he would some other case earlier than him. 

Reinhart, 60, grew up in Somerville, New Jersey, attended Princeton as an undergraduate and regulation faculty on the College of Pennsylvania. He clerked for a federal choose earlier than a stint within the public integrity part of the Division of Justice and two years as senior coverage adviser on the Treasury Division. Between 1996 and 2008, Reinhart served as a federal prosecutor in South Florida.

Reinhart’s spouse, Bell, is a juvenile court docket choose, and so they met when each labored on the Justice Division. 

In 2008, Reinhart went into personal follow, specializing in white collar prison protection. One among his purchasers was a Florida police officer convicted of utilizing extreme power towards a suspect and violating that suspect’s civil rights. 

For a time Reinhart shared West Palm Seaside workplace area with lawyer Jack Goldberger.

“With out hesitation, if I had a state of affairs the place I wanted one other in a case I used to be concerned in, I did not even take into consideration anybody else. I might routinely go to Bruce. Robotically,” Goldberger mentioned. Collectively, they labored on a number of well being care fraud circumstances.

Goldberger has represented an assortment of high-profile purchasers, together with New England Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft and the late, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, although Reinhart was not a part of both protection workforce. 

However Reinhart has drawn scrutiny for ties to Epstein. Shortly after leaving a senior position on the U.S. lawyer’s workplace in 2008, Reinhart defended staff for Epstein, together with his scheduler and pilot. Reinhart mentioned he was not a part of the workforce on the Justice Division investigating Epstein and denied that he was aware of details about the case that would have triggered an ethics battle, the Miami Herald reported.

“Even assuming I had participated ‘personally and considerably’ within the Epstein investigation [which I did not], the related Division of Justice laws solely prohibited me from speaking with, or showing earlier than, the USA on behalf of Mr. Epstein,” Reinhart mentioned in a 2018 e mail to the Herald.

Reinhart and Goldberger are common lunch companions, sometimes selecting greasy spoons and gyros over nice eating. Goldberger mentioned he enjoys attending sporting occasions and enjoying golf with Reinhart, although he admits neither is excellent. “Thank God training regulation is our day job for each of us. Neither of us are so spectacular on the market.”

Reinhart sits on the board of his native synagogue –- a incontrovertible fact that drew anti-Semitic feedback on-line. One 4chan person wrote about Reinhart, “That may be a ok**e. And a pedophile…He needs to be tried for treason and executed.” Within the wake of the threats, the synagogue canceled an occasion final week, in keeping with a number of studies.

There’s restricted public proof in regards to the choose’s political leanings, regardless of the rash of accusations of partisan malfeasance. He donated $2,000 to help Barack Obama in 2008 and $500 to Jeb Bush’s failed run for the presidency in 2015, in keeping with federal elections information.  

Reinhart didn’t remark for this story however his social media posts provide some clues about his views on the regulation and politics.

In a 2017 tribute to his mentor Norma Shapiro, the choose for whom he clerked early in his regulation profession, Reinhart wrote, “Daily, in methods massive and small, she tried to assist individuals. I attempt to honor her by doing the identical.”

Reinhart’s profile image is a New York Giants helmet and most posts are pretty strange and apolitical — household updates (“Our minivan days are formally over!”), hyperlinks to information articles and sometimes pictures. He seems to have stopped making public posts as soon as he was sworn to the federal bench.

In a single publish he wrote it was, “embarrassing to dwell in a state [Florida] that’s much less enlightened on prison justice than Louisiana and Mississippi.” The remark was appended to a 2017 article about Louisiana’s new prison justice legal guidelines.

There may be one reference to Trump, whose case is earlier than him now.

Simply earlier than the 2017 inauguration, Reinhart reacted to President-elect Trump’s tweet about civil rights crusader and congressman John Lewis.  Trump tweeted Lewis was “All discuss, discuss, discuss — no motion or outcomes. Unhappy!”

Reinhart responded on social media, “I usually ignore the President-elect’s tweets, however not this one. John Lewis arguably has completed extra to “make America nice” than any residing citizen.” 

He added: “Thanks, [academic and former cabinet secretary] Robert Reich, for saying what many people really feel, “John Lewis is the conscience of America. Donald Trump does not have the ethical stature to kiss John Lewis’s toes.”

Reinhart’s bio on the court docket’s webpage was quickly disabled after the Mar-a-Lago search made headlines, however it has since been restored. 

“The threats towards him are simply outrageous. They need to be denounced by everyone,” mentioned protection lawyer Jon Sale, who argued circumstances towards Reinhart when he was an assistant US Lawyer and known as him “truthful” and “impartial” in the case of politics.

As a Justice of the Peace choose, Reinhart has presided over circumstances starting from disputes over Google’s lawyer charges to a Social Safety fraud case towards a lady as soon as topped Mrs. Florida. Karen Turk pleaded responsible to 1 rely and Reinhart sentenced her to 1 month in jail.

The Mar-a-Lago search warrant shouldn’t be Reinhart’s first brush with Trump in his position as a Justice of the Peace. The previous president claimed in a lawsuit filed this March that Hillary Clinton and Democratic allies conspired to make false statements about Trump’s ties to Russia through the 2016 marketing campaign. 

Reinhart was assigned the case in April, however recused himself by mid-June. It’s not clear why.

Magistrates should not chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate like different jurists within the federal system. As an alternative, they’re appointed by a majority vote of the U.S. district judges on every court docket. 

Federal magistrates subject warrants – like that issued within the Mar-a-Lago case – and deal with preliminary prison issues like arraignments, preliminary appearances, and arguments over the pretrial detention of a defendant. In contrast to “Article III” judges earlier than whom prison and civil circumstances are tried, magistrates should not normally tasked with presiding over full judicial proceedings and issuing binding rulings. 

Based on the official federal U.S. Courts web site, “Justice of the Peace judges should meet specified eligibility standards, together with no less than 5 years as a member in good standing of a state or territory’s highest court docket bar.” A benefit choice panel of legal professionals and group members additionally vets them. 

Reinhart didn’t select to preside over the Mar-a-Lago case; magistrates are assigned at random. As in some other case, Reinhart would have had to take a look at the proof introduced to him by prosecutors and investigators — together with the affidavit at subject — earlier than authorizing the search warrant of Trump’s property.  

Talking with CBS Information affiliate WFOR, former federal prosecutor David Weinstein mentioned of Reinhart,  “Bear in mind, he is seen all the things on this affidavit. He needed to have seen it as a result of he learn it and decided that there was possible trigger retained inside it.”

Folks interviewed for this text described Reinhart as a meticulous lawyer and a straight arrow, somebody who usually avoids discussing politics and maintains his professionalism inside and outdoors the courtroom. They cite his previous service on a Palm Seaside County ethics panel for example of his integrity.

“He is virtually out of central casting for what you count on a Justice of the Peace choose to be,” Zimet mentioned.

Because the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago final week, federal authorities have warned of a rise in threats to regulation enforcement and authorities officers

The threats, that are “occurring primarily on-line and throughout a number of platforms, together with social media websites, net boards, video sharing platforms, and picture boards,” have been recognized by the FBI and Division of Homeland Safety within the days following the search. 

Earlier this week, a western Pennsylvania man was charged with threatening to assault and homicide federal regulation enforcement officers, posting vulgar and violent messages on-line within the days after the FBI descended upon Mar-a-Lago.

“Each single piece of s*** who works for the FBI in any capability, from the director all the way down to the janitor who cleans their f****** bathrooms deserves to die. You have declared battle on us and now it is open season on YOU,” Adam Bies allegedly wrote on Aug. 10. Bies, who has since been indicted on 14 counts for the alleged threats, was arraigned at the moment.

Lawyer Normal Merrick Garland, a former federal choose himself who introduced the Justice Division’s want to unseal the search warrant for public viewing, mentioned final week of the “unfounded” assaults on regulation enforcement and authorities officers, “I cannot stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked.  The women and men of the FBI and the Justice Division are devoted, patriotic public servants.” 

Nicole Sganga contributed reporting from West Palm Seaside, FL. 



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