Special Counsel Jack Smith has apparently won an initial battle in his case against former President Donald Trump in his prosecution of the case of the classified documents found to be in Trump’s possession at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Smith requested the order prior to the prosecution team’s release of possibly sensitive information to the defense in preparation for trial, ABC News reported.
Trump and his presidential valet, Walt Nauta, must by law be provided access to the information supporting the prosecution’s case in order to allow them to conduct an adequate defense.
Trump was indicted on June 9 for 31 counts involving the “unauthorized possession and willful retention of national defense documents, charges that fall under the Espionage Act,” according to another, earlier, report from ABC News.
The former president also faces six additional charges for obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.
“If it had just been the fact that he had this stuff and he turned it over, there would never have been an issue here,” Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor, told ABC News. “But he had it and he went all out to make sure he kept it.”
Ackerman described the indictment as “damning” for the former president.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart ordered that the defense team “not disclose the Discovery Materials or their contents directly or indirectly to any person or entity other than persons employed to assist in the defense, persons who are interviewed as potential witnesses, counsel for potential witnesses, and other persons to whom the Court may authorize disclosure.”
All such materials must remain in the guarded possession of the attorneys for the defense.
Reinhart specifically ordered that neither Trump nor Nauta be permitted to take possession of any documents released to the defense during the discovery process, or even to make notes regarding them unless the notes are also retained by defense counsel.
The order appeared to be aimed at keeping the former president from sharing disclosed material directly with the public on social media.
“A knowing violation of this Order by Defendants, Defense Counsel, and Authorized Persons may result in contempt of court or other civil or criminal sanctions,” the order warned.
You can read the judge’s entire order here: