Fulton County DA requests emergency safeguards after Trump case video leak

Clips of interviews with Trump co-defendants who pleaded guilty in election case were leaked to media

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 14 November 2023 17:58 GMT
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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office is seeking emergency safeguards after recorded interviews featuring co-defendants in Donald Trump’s Georgia election interference case were leaked to the media.

Clips of the proffer interviews with Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell — who have pleaded guilty — were first obtained by ABC News and published on Monday.

“The release of these confidential video recordings is clearly intended to intimidate witnesses in this case, subjecting them to harassment and threats prior to trial, constitutes indirect communication about the facts of this case with codefendants and witnesses, and obstructs the administration of justice, in violation of the conditions of release imposed on each defendant,” the DA’s office argued.

Alongside fellow defendants Kenneth Chesebro and Scott Hall, the four have all reached plea agreements with prosecutors that include their cooperation with testimony in the case.

There are still another 15 co-defendants who have pleaded not guilty, including the former president, to a sprawling conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state.

All of the defendants have been previously released on bond with conditions of release prohibiting them from performing any act to intimidate any person known to them to be a co-defendant or witness in this case; communicating in any way about the facts of this case with any person known to them to be a co-defendant or witness in this case; and otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.

Following the leak, the DA’s office says it will now no longer produce copies of confidential video recordings of proffers to any defendant in order to prevent further public disclosure.

Defendants will instead have to come to the office to view the recordings. They will be allowed to take notes but not copy or reproduce them.

Perhaps the biggest revelation to come from the video leak was that Trump adviser Dan Scavino privately told colleagues in December 2020 that his boss would not leave the White House “under any circumstances”.

Mr Scavino, then serving as Mr Trump’s chief of staff and director of social media, allegedly claimed at a White House Christmas party that the president would “just stay in power” regardless of election rules.

The accusation was made by Ms Ellis as part of her plea bargain.

She told prosecutors Mr Scavino made the remark after she apologised for the lack of success in their legal challenges to the election result.

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