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Judge will weigh protective order in Trump Jan. 6 case on Friday

A federal judge had ordered Trump's legal team to respond to a request for a blanket protective order over all documents involved in the case.
Trump asks court to shield only genuinely sensitive materials
Posted at 3:04 PM, Aug 07, 2023

After a federal judge had ordered former President Donald Trump's legal team to respond to a U.S. Department of Justice's request for a protective order by Monday, Trump's team is now asking that the blanket protective order to shield all materials now only be applied to "genuinely sensitive materials."

The question now will be who decides what is permissible free speech, and what is determined to be too "genuinely sensitive" to be released. 

Lawyers for Trump and for the Justice Department will attend a hearing on Friday, where the court will hear their formal proposals for the scope of a protective order.

The former president's legal team filed its response to the court on Monday, writing that the government has requested "the Court restrict all documents produced by the government, regardless of sensitivity."

Trump's team wrote that it "respectfully requests" that the court narrow the proposed order to "shield only genuinely sensitive materials from public view."

SEE MORE: Judge dismisses Donald Trump's countersuit against E. Jean Carroll

Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan had asked Trump's team to respond to special counsel Jack Smith's request to implement a strict protective order that would bar Trump from discussing evidence in the case in public. 

Trump's team appeared to center their argument around First Amendment rights, and said that in issuing the protective order the government "does so against its administration's primary political opponent, during an election season in which the administration, prominent party members, and media allies have campaigned on the indictment and proliferated its false allegations."  

The filing used the example of a Tweet sent out by President Joe Biden, in which the president is seen drinking from a campaign coffee mug with his face and "2024" on it. 

In the video, Biden takes a sip and says, "I like my coffee dark."

While it was unclear exactly what the message meant at the time, it was posted on the same day that former President Trump was arraigned at a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Trump's legal team called it a "thinly veiled reference to [Biden's] administration's prosecution of President Trump just hours before arraignment."

Trump's legal team argued that certain materials deemed sensitive should "exclude" those that were obtained outside of the grand jury process. 

The government said on Monday that Trump's request was unreasonable and that the DOJ's proposed protective order is "consistent with others routinely entered in criminal cases" in the District of Columbia. 

The response accuses Trump and his team of attempting to propose "an order designed to allow him to try this case in the media rather than in the courtroom."

The response included five examples of Trump's legal defense team members appearing on Sunday news shows just before Monday's response, talking about their legal defense and their disagreement with the protective order. The government's position is that the proposed order from Trump's legal team would lead to the "public dissemination" of discovery material. 

An order signed by Judge Chutkan said the court will hear out both parties' proposals in a new meeting within the next few days. 

Both parties were asked make themselves available for another hearing in Washington, D.C. on a protective order.

Judge Chutkan wrote that Trump would not have to appear in person. Trump's legal team was scheduled to be in court by 10 a.m. ET on Aug. 11.


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