Posted by Jeff Childers
Coffee & Covid
We also got some insight into which judge signed the search warrant authorizing the raid, and it’s totally uninteresting, everything looks perfectly normal and above-board. Haha, just kidding. You already guessed the whole thing is pretty sus. The warrant’s signer now appears to have been South District of Florida Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart.
I know you want to hear about Epstein, but hang on a second. Let’s talk about magistrate judges first, and where they come from. The first three Articles of the Constitution create the three branches of government. Article I creates the Legislative Branch. Article II creates the Executive Branch. Article III of the Constitution creates and empowers the Judicial Branch, including the federal court system.
As you would expect, regular federal judges exist and have power because of language provided by Article III. The Constitution provides that federal judges are appointed for life by the President and confirmed in the Senate.
So far, so good. But since a river of legal detritus constantly flows through federal courts that federal judges don’t want to have to deal with, they HIRE lawyers to be Magistrate Judges. Wielding powers delegated by the federal judges, these deputized magistrates can hold minor hearings, handle legal emergencies, adjudicate procedural disputes like arguments over discovery, sign search warrants, but who ultimately cannot enter significant orders themselves and only RECOMMEND things to the real federal judges.
There are some terrific, smart, long-serving magistrate judges. But they are not appointed by the President. They are not confirmed by the Senate. They do not serve for life. They are more like contract employees, and there is nothing in Article III that provides for them. Sometimes they’re called “Article I judges,” because they are created and authorized by statute (via the Legislative Branch) instead of the Constitution.
Without any criticism of magistrate judges, many of whom are excellent, they are NOT federal judges. They can be hired and fired, but they can’t sign final orders, which they can draft but which must be signed by a “real” federal judge. The magistrate job is viewed in the legal community as a real peach; good pay, great benefits, a great score.
You tell me: does it make sense for a newly-hired MAGISTRATE JUDGE to sign a search warrant authorizing a raid on a former President of the United States who is also a current candidate for the next Presidential election? Or do you think that might be the kind of thing a magistrate would send upstairs to a “real” federal judge, or maybe even a group of such judges?
You might think so, but Magistrat Reinhart evidently disagreed.
In other words, this warrant was NOT the kind of ordinary, run-of-the-mill, high-volume, low-importance kind of thing that magistrate judges are designed for, to help reduce the volume of more important legal matters that real federal judges have to deal with. So that’s weird.
But it gets weirder.
Perhaps anticipating blowback, the Southern District of Florida has disabled the link to Magistrate Judge Reinhart’s official web page. You can’t click on Reinhart’s name. He’s the only one out of SIXTEEN magistrates without a link. That’s not sketchy at all. Of course, he probably just doesn’t want to get a bunch of calls and emails or something. Either way, his page has been completely locked down:
Locking his web page down was useless, of course, because the page — a public record — can be viewed in the Internet Archive: Judge Bruce E. Reinhart | Southern District of Florida | United States District Court.
Reinhart has also set his Twitter profile to “private.” So.
Alright, now let’s talk about the OTHER stuff.
The NY Post ran a story yesterday headlined, “Judge Who OK’d Mar-a-Lago Raid Obama Donor Once Linked To Jeffrey Epstein.” It includes a good summary of what is now known about the magistrate.
Bruce Reinhart donated to President Obama’s campaign, made a small donation to Trump’s primary opponent Jeb Bush in 2016, and in 2017, posted anti-Trump comments and woke content on his Facebook page. All together, just this much was probably enough that Reinhart should have recused himself from the Trump warrant.
But in fact, just two months ago, Reinhart ALREADY recused himself from Trump’s lawsuit against Hilary Clinton filed earlier this year.
For context, here Reinhart is in a 2007 photo from his Facebook page:
Back in 2007, Reinhart was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s office, which was then prosecuting the Jeffrey Epstein case. According to court documents, Reinhart abruptly and without warning resigned on January 1st, 2008, and the very next day on January 2nd, he switched sides and started representing several of Jeffrey Epstein’s lieutenants and co-conspirators.
In fact, two of Epstein’s victims would later sue Reinhart, accusing him of violating Justice Department policies by switching sides in the middle of the Epstein investigation, suggesting he had spilled inside information about the probe to Epstein, which is why the infamous pedophile hired him to represent his co-defendants.
In a 2013 court filing, Reinhart’s former colleagues at the U.S. Attorney’s office testified that Reinhart had in fact “learned confidential, non-public information about the Epstein matter” while employed by the US Attorney’s Office. Reinhart denied it, of course, and the civil case against him was ultimately dismissed by the Justice Department. And the wheels of government spun on.
In the 2008 Epstein case, Reinhart represented Epstein’s pilots; his scheduler, Sarah Kellen, who arranged “massages” — up to three a day — where Epstein would rape his victims, according to witnesses; and Nadia Marcinkova, who Epstein once reportedly described as his “Yugoslavian sex slave,” but who is described in legal documents as Epstein’s collaborator, co-conspirator, and procurer.
Reinhart helped his clients get complete immunity from the government, in a controversial 2007 deal with federal prosecutors that also allowed Epstein to plead guilty to lesser state charges rather than any of the more serious federal crimes.
Here’s a clip of Reinhart defending Lois Lerner’s weaponization of the IRS to persecute conservatives:
In March 2018, Reinhart was hired as a Magistrate Judge for the Southern District.
It’s a fair question to ask how Reinhart got assigned to the case. According to criminal defense attorneys who practice in the Southern District, magistrate judges are assigned to warrant duty on a weekly rotation and the schedules are published in advance. DOJ prosecutors can time when they file for the search warrant to get whatever judge they want.