Former president Donald Trump will be barred from viewing the evidence the Department of Justice has collected against him, except when in the presence of his attorneys, according to a new order by one of the judges overseeing the criminal case against him.
In a four-page order signed on Monday, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart granted a prosecution request for a protective order meant to shield the information that must be disclosed to Mr Trump about the case against him from public view.
It covers “non-classified discovery produced by the United States to the Defendants in preparation for, or in connection with, any stage” of the case that began when a Florida grand jury indicted the ex-president on 37 separate counts of violating the federal criminal code earlier this month, and requires that those materials can only be used “in connection with the defense of this case, and for no other purpose, and in connection with no other proceeding”.
Magistrate Judge Reinhart also ordered that the discovery materials be kept only by Mr Trump’s legal team and stored securely on premises controlled by them.
He further specified that Mr Trump (and his co-defendant Walt Nauta) “shall only have access to Discovery Materials under the direct supervision of Defense Counsel or a member of Defense Counsel’s staff,” and prohibited either of them from retaining copies of the materials themselves or taking any notes with them after viewing any of the materials.
The protective order and the restrictions it places upon Mr Trump are meant in part to prevent him from directing his followers to harass any witnesses against him or any FBI or DOJ personnel involved in the case.
After FBI agents searched his Palm Beach, Florida property on 8 August last year, the former president’s camp leaked an unredacted copy of a property receipt provided to his counsel at the time of the search to right-wing Breitbart News.
The document named multiple FBI agents involved in the search of his property, and in subsequent court filings the government disclosed that those agents had been targeted for harassment by Mr Trump’s supporters.
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