Manhattan DA Seeks to Stop Trump From Discussing Evidence

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office asked a judge to issue an order prohibiting former President Donald Trump from publicly discussing information prosecutors turn over to his lawyers before he’s tried on business fraud charges.
“The risk that this defendant will use the covered materials inappropriately is substantial,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw wrote. “Defendant has a long history of discussing his legal matters publicly — including by targeting witnesses, jurors, investigators, prosecutors, and judges with harassing, embarrassing, and threatening statements on social media and in other public forums — and he has already done so in this case.”
Trump was indicted in Manhattan after a grand jury determined there was enough evidence to proceed with a case against him for paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 campaign. He pleaded not guilty.
In a deviation from a standard request for a protective order to limit the disclosure of information exchanged between parties ahead of trials, Bragg’s office went to great lengths in describing Trump’s history in legal matters, stressing the special need for such an order in this case.
In Tuesday’s filing, the prosecutor noted that in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as two separate impeachment trials in Congress, Trump criticized and ridiculed witnesses and officials involved in those matters. 
On social media, Trump described former FBI director James Comey as an “untruthful slime ball.” In the first impeachment trial, involving an attempt by Trump to pressure Ukrainian officials to open an investigation into Joe Biden, Trump disparaged Marie Yovanovitch, the US Ambassador to Ukraine whom he fired, and criticized Alexander Vindman, an official who expressed alarm over Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Trump has already begun attacking potential witnesses in this case, including Michael Cohen, his former “fixer,” who paid $130,000 in hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election to guarantee that she wouldn’t disclose an alleged sexual liaison she had with Trump years earlier. After his indictment, Trump sued Cohen.
Prosecutors also cited the example of Ruby Freeman and her daughter, volunteer poll workers in Georgia, who were falsely accused by Trump on social media of double-counting ballots in heavily democratic Fulton County. The harassment unleashed on the women resulted in Freeman, on the advice of the FBI, having to vacate her home for approximately two months.
At Trump’s arraignment on April 4, prosecutor Christopher Conroy raised the topic before Judge Juan Merchan, saying Bragg’s office would ask for a protective order for discovery materials only, but was considering whether stricter conditions were warranted. In Tuesday’s filing, McCaw said Trump’s lawyers said they wouldn’t agree to a protective order, so prosecutors were asking the judge to impose it.
The prosecutors also expressed concern over allegations that Trump took classified materials from the White House and brought them to Mar-a-Lago, his home in Florida. As part of the protective order, they’re asking that Trump be allowed access to discovery materials only in the presence of his attorneys.

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