Manhattan prosecutors are asking a judge to prevent former President Trump from disseminating evidence in his hush money criminal case publicly after his lawyers declined to consent to such an agreement, according to court filings.
Prosecutors are arguing a protective order, which would place rules on how Trump can use evidence prosecutors turn over to him during discovery, is needed given his history of attacking those involved in legal proceedings against him.
At Trump’s arraignment earlier this month, Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw indicated prosecutors were negotiating such an order with his legal team and were “very close to agreement and finalizing the language.”
But those talks have apparently broken down.
“Initially, the People sought to negotiate the terms of a protective order with defense counsel,” McCaw wrote to the judge this week.
“Defense counsel has since indicated that they will not consent to a protective order, so the People are now moving for such an order,” she continued.
Trump attorney Susan Necheles told The Hill the former president will file a response next week.
“We haven’t resolved anything yet,” Joe Tacopina, another attorney representing Trump in the case, told The Hill earlier this month when asked about the negotiations.
Beyond keeping the discovery private, prosecutors are also hoping to prevent Trump from viewing the evidence when his lawyers aren’t present. They further want to redact the names of certain district attorney staff from the materials until a trial begins and require Trump to get consent from prosecutors before he can see forensic images of witness cellphones.
Manhattan prosecutors noted Trump’s attacks about the past probe into Russia’s election interference in the 2016 election, the current federal investigations into Jan. 6, 2021, the mishandling of government records at Mar-a-Lago, and the probe by Georgia authorities over Trump’s effort to influence the election there.
“This pattern, particularly given that Defendant is currently under federal investigation for his handling of classified materials, gives rise to significant concern that Defendant will similarly misuse grand jury and other sensitive materials here,” McCaw wrote.
Trump’s legal team is expected to leverage the materials as they prepare a motion to dismiss the indictment. But prosecutors said at Trump’s arraignment they wanted a protective order before handing any of it over.