Georgia Prosecutors Seek Protective Order After Leak of Videos in Trump Case – Fulton County prosecutors in Georgia have requested the judge presiding over the 2020 election subversion case involving Donald Trump and co-defendants to promptly issue an “emergency” protective order for the discovery materials, aiming to prevent potential leaks of evidence in the future.
The request followed the publication by various media outlets of details from videotaped statements provided by former Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and Kenneth Chesebro. These statements were given as part of plea deals to avoid facing trial as racketeering co-defendants alongside the former president. Earlier, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had requested a protective order for the discovery materials in the case.
However, pointing to the leak of several “proffer” interviews, Willis reiterated the request to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee on Tuesday. “The release of these confidential video recordings is clearly intended to intimidate witnesses,” the filing said, “subjecting them to harassment and threats prior to trial, constitutes indirect communication about the facts of this case with co-defendants and witnesses.”
Trump, along with 18 co-defendants, has pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering and conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. Three of Trump’s former lawyers and a local Republican operative have accepted plea deals. The leaks’ actual motivation remains unclear. Prosecutors, seeking a protective order, aim to curb discussion of damaging testimonies, such as Jenna Ellis’s.
District Attorney Willis plans to withhold video copies from defense lawyers, requiring them to watch at her Atlanta office. In the federal case in Washington, discovery materials were promptly protected, but Trump’s lawyers there aren’t restricted to in-person viewing. The submission to the judge includes communications with defense lawyers, including Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow, who sought a statement denying their office leaked the material.
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“The state had nothing to do with leaking any information to the media!” replied Nathan Wade, one of the top prosecutors on the case. But then a lawyer for Harrison Floyd, a Trump ally charged with harassing Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman, replied to the email chain on Tuesday morning, writing, “It was Harrison Floyd’s team.” The lawyer later said the statement was a typo and that they were not the leak.