In a late-night court filing on Friday, U.S. prosecutors brought attention to a threatening social media post made by former President Donald Trump. The prosecutors argued that the post on his Truth Social site could potentially be used to intimidate witnesses and disclose confidential evidence received from the government.
The post, which read, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”, was published on Friday afternoon, just a day after Trump pleaded not guilty to charges related to an alleged criminal conspiracy to overturn his 2020 election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.
Simultaneously, in Georgia, where other prosecutors are investigating Trump’s efforts to reverse the election results, security was tightened around the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta in anticipation of a potential announcement of Trump’s fourth criminal indictment this year.
The filing in the Washington federal court by Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office expressed concerns that Trump’s social media post might lead to the public disclosure of secret materials, including grand jury transcripts obtained from prosecutors.
They sought a protective order to prevent Trump and his lawyers from sharing any discovery materials with unauthorized individuals.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan granted Trump until 5 p.m. on Monday to respond to the protective order request. The process of discovery mandates prosecutors to provide defendants with the evidence against them to enable them to prepare their defense.
Prosecutors highlighted that Trump’s history of attacking judges, attorneys, and witnesses in other cases against him added weight to their concerns and could potentially have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in the current case.
While protective orders are typical in cases involving confidential documents, the prosecutors emphasized the importance of restricting public dissemination in light of Trump’s statements on social media.
In response to the filing, a spokesperson for Trump defended the post as political speech, referring to it as a response to specific groups and PACs.
In the meantime, security has been heightened around the Atlanta courthouse for at least two weeks in anticipation of potential demonstrations should Trump be indicted in the ongoing investigation in Georgia.
Trump is currently facing other criminal charges, including federal charges in Miami for allegedly retaining classified documents after leaving office and obstructing justice, as well as state charges in Manhattan for allegedly falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments.
Despite the legal troubles, Trump has maintained his front-runner status in the Republican nomination contest, garnering public support. However, a Reuters/Ipsos poll indicated that about half of Republicans would not vote for Trump if he were convicted of a felony.
Trump has consistently portrayed all investigations as politically motivated attempts to undermine his 2024 campaign.