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Trump restricted from revealing 'sensitive materials' in election case

Judge Tanya Chutkan said Trump and his legal team cannot disclose "sensitive materials" to anyone who is not working on the defense in the case.
Protective order in Trump election case restricts sensitive materials
Posted at 5:59 AM, Aug 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-11 16:58:22-04

The federal judge overseeing the case involving former President Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election issued a protective order on Friday. 

In the order, Judge Tanya Chutkan said Trump and his legal team cannot disclose "sensitive materials" to anyone who is not working on the defense in the case. 

In the order, Chutkan lays out what is considered sensitive materials. It include materials containing personally identifying information, witness testimony and related exhibits presented to the grand jury. Materials obtained through seal or search warrants, recordings transcripts, interview reports and materials obtained from other governmental entities are also not to be disclosed. 

The order does not apply to information or records that are publicly available or that the defense has secured on its own.

During Friday's hearing, Chutkan said Trump has the right to free speech, but she acknowledged that this right is not without limitations and that "the defendant’s free speech is subject to the rules."

When questioned by Scripps News about Trump's ability to adhere to the order, the former president's lawyer, John Lauro, referred to what happened during the hearing. 

"We presented all the necessary arguments and made our points on the record," he said. 

SEE MORE: January 2024 trial date proposed for Trump election case

The request for a protective order was made by Special Counsel Jack Smith. 

Last week, prosecutors cited a Truth Social post by Trump in which he said he would be "coming after" those who "go after" him and expressed concerns about Trump revealing secret grand jury information, potentially intimidating witnesses, and causing harm.

This was Trump’s lawyers' first appearance before Chutkan, who is known for sentencing over three dozen individuals linked to the Capitol insurrection. 

Trump entered a not-guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and impeding Congress' certification of Joe Biden's election win.

The hearing comes as prosecutors aim to take this case to trial on January 2, 2024. Prosecutors estimate that the trial will take no longer than four to six weeks.

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