Trump responds to special counsel protective order request

The E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse stands behind barricades and police tape in Washington, DC, prior to Donald Trump’s arraignment for his role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection and other efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Allison Bailey/AP). Inset left: Trump walks to speak with reporters before boarding his plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Aug. 3, 2023, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File). Inset right: Special Counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media about the indictment of former President Donald Trump, Aug. 1, 2023, at an office of the Department of Justice in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have responded to a request from federal prosecutors asking a federal judge for a protective order in the criminal case against him for his alleged efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election, accusing the government of trying to violate the defendant’s First Amendment rights and engaging in political posturing.

“[T]he government requests the Court assume the role of censor and impose content-based regulations on President Trump’s political speech that would forbid him from publicly discussing or disclosing all non-public documents produced by the government, including both purportedly sensitive materials and non-sensitive, potentially exculpatory documents,” the filing says (citations omitted).

Instead, Trump’s lawyers propose that the protective order be narrowed “to shield only genuinely sensitive materials from public view,” which they say would be “consistent with other protective orders entered by this Court in cases concerning the events of January 6, 2021[.]”

Trump faces four criminal counts tied to an alleged conspiracy to subvert the result of the 2020 election and pass off fake electors in key swing states. He entered a not guilty plea last week and was told at his arraignment by U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya that he was not to communicate the facts of the case with any individual known to be a witness, except through counsel or in the presence of counsel.

Trump’s legal team describes the case as “a trial about First Amendment rights” and accuses the government of seeing to “restrict First Amendment rights” of “its administration’s primary political opponent, during an election season[.]”

Trump responds to special counsel protective order request

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