Aug 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

DOJ asks court to limit what Trump can publicly say about Jan. 6 case

Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during the Alabama Republican Party's 2023 Summer meeting at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel on August 4, 2023 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Julie Bennett/Getty Images)

Federal prosecutors have again asked that a judge place former President Trump under a protective order, limiting what he can publicly say about the ongoing election interference case, following a post to his Truth Social account on Friday.

Driving the news: On Truth Social, Trump wrote, "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I'M COMING AFTER YOU!" which prosecutors included in the filing to illustrate how the former president uses social media to comment on ongoing legal matters.

  • Trump's previous posts, the filing said, means that a protective order is "particularly important in this case."
  • "The defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him," the filing said.
  • "If the defendant were to begin issuing public posts using details—or, for example, grand jury transcripts—obtained in discovery here, it could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case," it said.

Trump's campaign issued a statement Saturday, saying the former president's Truth Social post is "the definition of political speech."

  • The post was "in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch brothers and the Club for No Growth," the statement added.

Worth noting: A protective order would limit what Trump or his lawyers could publicly say about the case, but would not keep the former president or his team from talking about it at all.

  • Protective orders are fairly common in criminal cases, and are not the same as a gag order, which prevents any element of a case from being discussed publicly.
  • Trump has already been placed under protective orders in two other cases: the hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Flashback: Earlier this week, while at his arraignment, Trump swore he would not communicate with witnesses involved in the election interference case without a lawyer or seek to intimidate them in any way.

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