Special counsel Jack Smith’s office has requested a protective order against former President Donald Trump, a move that has earned him praise from CNN’s Jim Acosta.
The request was filed after Trump posted a threatening Truth Social post Friday afternoon in which he wrote, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”
Hours later, Smith’s team filed the request.
“All the proposed order seeks to prevent is the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including to the public,” the request reads, according to NBC News.
“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,” it continues.
As seen below, the request includes a screenshot of Trump’s Truth Social post:
After Donald Trump posted on Truth Social, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” Jack Smith filed a Motion for Protective Order.
Smith is claiming that the prosecution can not safely turn over all the requested discovery evidence until they know that Trump can’t make… pic.twitter.com/UswXt8h4Oi
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) August 5, 2023
The request added that the former president’s potential use of details or grand jury transcripts “could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case.”
Responding to this news even later Friday evening, Acosta stressed the “chilling effect on witnesses” part.
“Now, the special prosecutor is asking for a protective order, saying if Trump began posting details from grand jury transcripts, it could have a chilling effect on witnesses. Remember, this is just 24 hours after his arrest and arraignment in his third indictment over election interference and after the judge warned him against making threats,” he said.
“It sounds as though the special counsel in this case, Jack Smith, is really seizing on this very inflammatory, threatening-sounding post from Donald Trump on Truth Social and alerting it to the judge. The government arguing that the restrictions that they’re seeking are necessary to prevent Trump from publicly disclosing sensitive discovery information,” he added.
Acosta then asked former Nixon White House counsel John Dean for his take.
“Yeah, it looks like the post from Trump came out while they were working on a motion to agree upon a protective order in general to exchange discovery material, and this obviously caught their attention. This is not the sort of norm that they’re used to dealing with,” Dean said.
“But we also all know, after watching Trump for many, many years now in court proceedings, particularly those where he’s a target, that he likes to play the bad boy, he likes to threaten, he likes to control witnesses, he likes to tell prosecutors — call them nasty names,” he added.
“And Jack Smith is going to call out to the judge’s attention and see if they can get some restrictions. They can’t zip him up, but they are going to make sure that all those documents that he gets are in the hands of his lawyers, and his lawyers are responsible and not going to let him have them other than to prepare his defense,” he continued.
Acosta responded by pointing attention to Trump’s habit of saying and doing whatever the heck he wants, including on Jan. 6th.
— BizPac Review (@BIZPACReview) July 24, 2023
“Is this a message from the special counsel that that is not going to be tolerated or that he is going to ride Trump pretty hard on these social media posts from here on forward? I mean, after all, John, Trump is doing this one day after he was arraigned in Washington, in federal court, on arguably the most serious charges he has ever faced,” he said.
Dean noted that this is likely “the most serious case that the federal judicial system has handled in centuries,” ergo why the former president playing games isn’t very “smart.”
“It could actually be to his benefit for the special counsel to ride on him, and I think that’s what this indicates, that he’s going to have a low tolerance for games, and this is a signal. We’ll see how the judge reacts to it and, you know, she may or may not do anything at this point,” he said.
“I think that most important is to get the discovery material in the hands of Trump’s defense counsel so they don’t have any way to stall a trial. It appears that there have been an exchange of drafts and they couldn’t agree upon anything, so they’re going right to the court to get that resolved,” he added.
Acosta then asked Dean whether the Department of Justice was in the right to seek a protective order against Trump. Dean answered in the affirmative.
“Well, what you want to do is have a fair trial, both for the defendant and for the American public. And the way to distort the fair trial is to put out inflammatory statements to create chaos and a circus, and I don’t think this judge or this prosecutor are going to tolerate that. But we’ll not know until the judge reacts to these filings,” he said.
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