The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Court filing highlights Trump’s threatenin­g post on social media

- By Mark Aitken

US prosecutor­s have asked a judge overseeing a criminal case against Donald Trump to step in after the former president appeared to vow revenge on anyone who goes after him.

The Justice Department has asked US District Court judge Tanya Chutkan to issue a protective order against Trump after he posted a social media message stating: “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!”

Trump’s campaign team has insisted that the post was only “political speech”.

But prosecutor­s argue that it suggests he might intimidate witnesses by improperly disclosing confidenti­al evidence received from the government.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat and block the peaceful transition of power.

The order would limit what informatio­n Trump and his legal team could share publicly about the case.

Such protective orders are common in criminal cases, but prosecutor­s said it was particular­ly important in this case because Trump has posted on social media about “witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him”.

Prosecutor­s said they are ready to hand over a substantia­l amount of evidence – including “sensitive and confidenti­al informatio­n” – to Trump’s legal team.

They told the judge that if Trump posted about grand jury transcript­s or other evidence it could have a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administra­tion of justice in this case”.

Trump’s spokespers­on said, in response, that the former president’s post “is the definition of political speech” and was made in response to “dishonest special interest groups”.

The former president is accused of conspiring with allies to spread falsehoods and concoct schemes intended to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden as his legal challenges floundered in court.

He was indicted on Monday on four charges as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigat­ion into the alleged conspiracy and the US Capitol riot on January 6 2021.

The indictment alleges that Trump and his Republican allies, in what Smith described as an attack on a “bedrock function of the US government”, repeatedly lied about the results in the two months after he lost the election and pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, and state officials to take action to help him cling to power.

Trump faces charges including conspiracy to defraud the US and conspiracy to obstruct Congress’ certificat­ion of Biden’s electoral victory.

It is the third criminal case brought this year against Trump, who is the front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidenti­al primary.

But it is the first case to try to hold him responsibl­e for his efforts to remain in power during the chaotic weeks between his election loss and the attack by his supporters on the Capitol.

After his court appearance on Thursday, Trump described the case as a “persecutio­n” designed to hurt his 2024 presidenti­al campaign.

His legal team has described it as an attack on his right to free speech and his right to challenge an election that he believed had been stolen.

Smith has said prosecutor­s will seek a “speedy trial” against Trump in the election case.

The first court hearing is scheduled for August 28.

Trump is already due to stand trial in March in the New York case stemming from alleged hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign and in May in the federal case in Florida following the discovery of classified documents at his Mara-Lago estate.

At a Republican Party fundraisin­g dinner in Alabama on Friday night, Trump claimed that the court cases were only boosting his support among voters.

He said: “Any time they file an indictment, we go way up in the polls.

“We need one more indictment to close out this election. One more indictment, and this election is closed out.”

 ?? ?? Donald Trump faces multiple court dates despite pushing for the Republican nomination.
Donald Trump faces multiple court dates despite pushing for the Republican nomination.

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