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Special Counsel’s Office Demands Protective Order Against Trump

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Federal prosecutors have made an aggressive move in their case against former President Donald Trump after a post he mad eon his Truth Social account.

“IF YOU COME AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” the former president said in an all caps message on his account.

That prompted the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith to ask U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, the judge overseeing the criminal case in Washington DC against the former president, for a protective order, which is similar to, but not the same as, a gag order, The Associated Press reported.

Such protective orders are common in criminal cases, but prosecutors said it’s “particularly important in this case” because Trump has posted on social media about “witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him.”

Prosecutors said they are ready to hand over a “substantial” amount of evidence — “much of which includes sensitive and confidential information” — to Trump’s legal team.

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They told the judge that if Trump were to begin posting about grand jury transcripts or other evidence provided by the Justice Department, it could have a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case.”

Prosecutors’ proposed protective order seeks to prevent Trump and his lawyers from disclosing materials provided by the government to anyone other than people on his legal team, possible witnesses, the witnesses’ lawyers or others approved by the court. It would put stricter limits on “sensitive materials,” which would include grand jury witness testimony and materials obtained through sealed search warrants.

But a spokesperson for the former president said that what Trump posted was the definition of political speech,” and was directed at “dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs.”

Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan was chosen to oversee the case and has been declared “the toughest punisher,” of those who are connected with the January 6 incident at the Capitol, and that is not the worst part for the president, The Daily Mail reported.

“Chutkan had worked at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner from 2002 until she was confirmed a federal judge in 2014,” The Mail reported.

“Boies Schiller has strong connections to the Democratic Party and then-second son Hunter Biden — whose dad President Biden is likely to face Trump in the 2024 election — was of counsel at the firm from 2009 to 2014,” it said. “It is not known if the two ever had any interaction while working there.”

Last year The Associated Press reported on the judge and her tough approach.

“Chutkan has handed out tougher sentences than the [Justice Department] was seeking in seven cases, matched its requests in four others and sent all 11 riot defendants who have come before her behind bars,” it said.

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“In the four cases in which prosecutors did not seek jail time, Chutkan gave terms ranging from 14 days to 45 days,” the report said.

It went on to say that she put “an Ohio couple who climbed through a broken window of the U.S. Capitol,” behind bars even though prosecutors did not ask for it.

Special Counsel Jack Smith announced the charges against the former president on Tuesday in a speech that, to some, appeared emotional.

“The attack on our nation’s capital on January 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy. As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government, the nation’s process of collecting, counting, and certifying the results of the presidential election,” he said.

“The men and women of law enforcement who defended the U.S. Capitol on January 6 are heroes. They’re patriots, and they are the very best of us. They did not just defend a building or the people sheltering in it. They put their lives on the line to defend who we are as a country and as a people. They defended the very institutions and principles that define the United States,” the special counsel said.

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