Trump posts, ‘If you go after me, I’m coming after you!’ Then DOJ asks judge for protective order.

News & Politics

After former President Donald Trump on Friday posted, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” the Department of Justice later that day asked a Washington, D.C., federal judge for a protective order, the Associated Press reported.

The AP said Trump’s post on Truth Social “appeared to promise revenge on anyone who goes after him.”

What are the details?

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to issue the protective order, which is different from a “gag order” and would limit what Trump and his legal team could share publicly about the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith, the AP reported.

Trump pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss and block the peaceful transition of power, the outlet added.

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More from the AP:

Such protective orders are common in criminal cases, but prosecutors said it’s “particularly important in this case” because Trump has posted on social media about “witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him.” […]

Prosecutors said they are ready to hand over a “substantial” amount of evidence — “much of which includes sensitive and confidential information” — to Trump’s legal team.

They told the judge that if Trump were to begin posting about grand jury transcripts or other evidence provided by the Justice Department, it could have a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case.”

Prosecutors’ proposed protective order seeks to prevent Trump and his lawyers from disclosing materials provided by the government to anyone other than people on his legal team, possible witnesses, the witnesses’ lawyers or others approved by the court. It would put stricter limits on “sensitive materials,” which would include grand jury witness testimony and materials obtained through sealed search warrants.

How did Trump respond?

The AP said a Trump spokesperson indicated in an emailed statement that his Truth Social post “is the definition of political speech” and was a reaction to “dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs.”

What else?

Trump was indicted earlier this week on four counts: conspiracy to defraud the U.S.; conspiracy to impede an official proceeding; obstructing and impeding the certification of the electoral vote; and conspiracy “to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate one or more persons in the free exercise and enjoyment of” the right to vote and have one’s vote counted.

Trump could receive more than 55 years in prison if convicted on the four counts.

Judge Chutkan was appointed by former President Barack Obama and has developed a reputation as the most ruthless on the D.C. federal court with regard to Jan. 6 protesters, having sentenced to jail or prison time every one of the 31 defendants who came before her.

During one Jan. 6 defendant’s sentencing, Chutkan said the protester “did not go to the United States Capitol out of any love for our country. … He went for one man.”

At present, Trump is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. John Bolton on Thursday warned that prosecuting Trump is akin to playing “Russian roulette” and could backfire.

Bolton added that the “risk is real” that if Trump is not convicted, he will be emboldened and empowered: “His lawyers don’t have to prove anything. They simply have to induce reasonable doubt in the minds of one or more jurors to get a hung jury.”

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