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The Justice Department on Friday filed a motion in federal court to muzzle former President Donald Trump after he was arraigned on a 37-count indictment earlier this week in Miami.
Special counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump in connection to an investigation into his handling of classified documents. Trump has called the allegations political and baseless and has argued publicly that he had the authority to possess them under the Presidential Records Act.
But in its filing the DOJ seeks to prevent Trump from “publicly disclosing any of the evidence that his legal team will be granted access to as they prepare to defend him against prosecution in the federal classified documents case,” The Epoch Times reported.
After Smith’s legal team requested a protective order, the presiding judge, in turn, referred the matter to U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who previously granted approval for the search warrant during the FBI raid at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence last year.
The outlet noted further:
Smith’s motion for a protective order notes that among the materials that prosecutors will hand over to Trump’s lawyers is information about ongoing investigations, “the disclosure of which could compromise those investigations and identify uncharged individuals.”
It also states that the materials include “sensitive and confidential information,” including information that could be used to identify people and that reveals investigative techniques.
The purpose of the requested protective order is to prevent Trump and his co-defendant Walt Nauta, who served as Trump’s presidential valet, from disclosing any sensitive information obtained by their attorneys during the discovery process. As part of the legal proceedings, prosecutors are obligated to provide the defense teams with the evidence gathered during their investigation.
“Defendants shall only have access to Discovery Materials under the direct supervision of Defense Counsel or a member of Defense Counsel’s staff,” the filing reads, per The Hill.
“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,” it adds.
The filing further states that Smith had engaged in discussions with the legal representatives of Trump and Nauta, and no objections were raised by either party regarding the protective order, the reports said.
In a separate case concerning an alleged hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, a judge in New York City granted a social media gag order last month, effectively restricting Trump’s ability to discuss the matter on social media platforms and at political rallies.
Following his plea in Miami, Trump went back to his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., where he addressed a crowed and launched a scathing attack on the Justice Department, Smith, and other federal officials. In his speech, he labeled Smith as a “raging and uncontrolled Trump hater,” accusing the special counsel of exhibiting bias and selective prosecution in his case.
“There was an unwritten rule” to not prosecute former presidents and political rivals, Trump his supporters.
“I will appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of America, Joe Biden, and go after the Biden crime family,” Trump pledged during his speech.
He added: “The ridiculous and baseless indictment of me by the Biden administration’s weaponized department of injustice will go down as among the most horrific abuses of power in the history of our country … this vicious persecution is a travesty of justice.”
Trump is currently dealing with federal charges filed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which accuses him of falsifying business records during the 2016 election. Furthermore, he is the subject of an ongoing investigation in Fulton County, Ga., while a federal grand jury in Washington is scrutinizing his post-2020 election activities.