An attorney and spokesperson for former president Donald Trump on Monday claimed the Department of Justice is seeking a protective order to prevent the ex-president from publicising discovery materials because he’s “afraid” and accused the prosecutor overseeing the case of playing “victim” over the dispute.
Alina Habba, a civil attorney who currently serves as a spokesperson for Mr Trump through his political action committee, said during an appearance on Fox and Friends that the dispute between Mr Trump’s defence team and Special Counsel Jack Smith over a proposed protective order is different from other cases and said the ex-president’s team hasn’t objected to other protective orders in the different court cases against him.
“We have two protective orders that we don't object to which say that there will be protections for the witnesses and protections for the evidence that come out, especially when they're classified,” she said.
On Friday, prosecutors asked Judge Tanya Chutkan to enter an order barring the former president from disclosing discovery materials “directly or indirectly to any person or entity other than persons employed to assist in the defense, persons who are interviewed as potential witnesses, counsel for potential witnesses, and other persons to whom the Court may authorize disclosure”.
They cited Mr Trump’s penchant for “public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him,” including one recent social media post in which he appeared to threaten to “come after” anyone he believes to have been “after” him.
In a more recent post on Monday, the ex-president also claimed in another post that he “shouldn’t have a protective order placed on [him] because it would impinge upon [his] right to FREE SPEECH”.
The protective order sought by the prosecution would bar the ex-president from disclosing non-public information that the government must turn over to him as part of the pre-trial discovery process.
Such orders are standard in criminal as well as civil cases, but Ms Habba claimed the one sought by the government is “different because this is Jack Smith trying to be a bit of a victim here”.
“It's more him being afraid if you look at it closely. The protective order is in terms of witness testimony, exhibits. Those aren't necessarily things we've ever disagreed to in President Trump's never violated that if you look historically. So I just want to be clear that that doesn't seem to be an issue for my client. What seems to be an issue is that Jack Smith isn't liking the discomfort of the attention from what he brought,” she said.
Mr Trump’s defence team has until 5.00 pm to formally respond to the government’s request and propose their own version of a protective order.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies