The Justice Department on Friday asked a federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former President Donald Trump in Washington to intervene after he posted a message online that appeared to promise revenge against anyone who goes after him.
Prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to issue a protective order in the case a day after Trump pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to reverse the results of his 2020 election loss and blocking the peaceful transfer of power. The order — which differs from a so-called “gag order” — would limit what sensitive information Trump and his legal team can share publicly about the case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
Such protective orders are common in criminal cases, but prosecutors said it is “particularly important in this case” because Trump has “made public statements on social media about witnesses, judges, attorneys and others involved in legal cases pending against him.” “.
They specifically pointed to a post on Trump’s Truth Social platform from earlier Friday in which Trump wrote in all caps, “If you go after me, I’ll come after you.”
Prosecutors said that if Trump began posting details of grand jury transcripts or other information handed over by the Justice Department, it could have a “damaging chilling effect on witnesses or negatively impact the fair administration of justice in this matter”.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to four felonies, including conspiracy to defraud the US and conspiracy to obstruct Congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.