On Friday, Trump’s lawyers attended a Washington, D.C. hearing before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged election meddling.
In court filings, prosecutors had argued for broad rules baring Trump’s lawyers from sharing “sensitive” materials with the former president, including witness testimony to the grand jury and recordings and transcripts of Trump associates who spoke to prosecutors. Trump’s attorneys argued that the government’s request was too broad and infringed on Trump’s First Amendment rights.
Judge Chutkan said she was not persuaded that the government has shown all information gathered in the case would fall under the protective order. She ruled that only information designated as “sensitive” should be protected.
“The defendant has the right to free speech, but that right is not absolute,” Chutkan said at the onset of the hearing. “Without a protective order, a party could release that info to the jury pool.”
Federal prosecutor Thomas Windom said Friday the restrictions were necessary to prevent the “improper dissemination of materials … including to the public.”
“The defendant has set forth an intention to set forth any information that they deem informative,” Windom told the judge.
“Defense has broadcast their strategy, and that is not to try this case in this courtroom, and your honor should address that,” he said.