U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion on Friday to stop former President Donald Trump from publicly disclosing any evidence that has been shared with his legal team.
This action is taken in relation to the ongoing prosecution stemming from the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Jack Smith regarding Trump’s handling of White House documents.
Trump made an appearance in a federal court on Tuesday, where he was formally charged with 37 counts in connection with Smith’s investigation.
“The Discovery Materials, along with any information derived therefrom, shall not be disclosed to the public or the news media, or disseminated on any news or social media platform, without prior notice to and consent of the United States or approval of the Court,” DOJ attorneys wrote.
The DOJ’s request for a protective order notes that certain “materials also include information pertaining to ongoing investigations, the disclosure of which could compromise those investigations and identify uncharged individuals.”
Former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner informed Law&Crime that the proposed request from DOJ attorney Jay Bratt “clearly leaves open the possibility that additional people will be charged.”
Besides the former president, prosecutors have also filed charges against Trump’s aide, Walt Nauta.
The DOJ is seeking a protective order similar to the one in place in Trump’s criminal case in Manhattan, where prosecutors claim that the former president falsified business records.
During that period, Trump asserted that the judge had “violated” his First Amendment rights by imposing the protective order, which restricts him from sharing evidence on “any news or social media platforms” without prior approval from the court.
“This is the protective order that Trump is going to find extraordinarily difficult to comply with,” Epner told Law&Crime.
The DOJ’s proposed protective order would also prohibit Trump from keeping a copy of the evidence against him and only allow him to review it in the presence of his lawyers.
“Defendants shall only have access to Discovery Materials under the direct supervision of Defense Counsel or a member of Defense Counsel’s staff,” the DOJ stated. “Defendants shall not retain copies of Discovery Material. Defendants may take notes regarding Discovery Materials, but such notes shall be stored securely by Defense Counsel.”
Despite Judge Aileen Cannon overseeing the criminal case, she passed the DOJ’s request to Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the Mar-a-Lago search warrant.
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