Federal prosecutors on Friday filed a request for a protective order to bar former President Donald Trump from publicly disclosing evidence gathered during their investigation.
Attorneys with the special counsel Jack Smith’s office filed the motion to Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the Trump case. In the filing, Smith’s team requests any sensitive materials that are used by Trump’s defense team only for the trial and Trump can only view them with his legal team present.
“All the proposed order seeks to prevent is the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including to the public,” the prosecution said. “Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him.”
The request was hours after Trump made a post on Truth Social Friday afternoon that read: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”
The filing cites “multiple posts” that mentioned or implied the case, which Smith’s office said, “could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case”.
During his arraignment on Thursday, Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya issued a warning to Trump, saying it is a “crime to try to influence a juror”.
“Finally, sir, I want to remind you that it is a crime to try to influence a juror, or to threaten or attempt to bribe a witness or any other person who may have information about your case, or to retaliate against anyone for providing information about your case to the prosecution, or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice,” she said.
Smith, who brought the case against Trump, was seated in the front row for the hearing. At one point, both he and Trump looked at each other with Smith not breaking the gaze.
When asked for a plea, Trump himself said “not guilty” to all counts.
The hearing marked a historic moment in American history as a former president and the current Republican presidential frontrunner stood in a courtroom accused of attempting to overturn an election.
The next hearing is set for August 28.