The judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s racketeering case in Georgia has issued a protective order for sensitive information following the leak of a videotaped testimony.
This order comes following the release of videotaped testimonies from four co-defendants in the case, including attorneys Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and Kenneth Chesebro, according to CNBC.
Jonathan Miller, an attorney representing co-defendant Misty Hampton, admitted during the November 15 hearing that he released the recording to “one media outlet” and that the public had a right to know what was said by the four co-defendants, per CNBC.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee wrote in his ruling that aside from concerns about the physical and economic harm to those involved, “additional concerns at play here justify the entry of a protective order.”
“First, allowing parties the unfettered ability to share pretrial materials with the public undermines the “smooth functioning of the discovery process.” allowing parties the unfettered ability to share pretrial materials with the public undermines the ‘smooth functioning of the discovery process,’” McAfee wrote.
“In addition, and more concerning, potential jurors should be limited from exposure to materials that may be deemed inadmissible at trial. One party may believe a piece of evidence should be considered by the public at large, while another finds it prejudicial and damaging to the jury pool.”
The order covers all materials deemed “sensitive” in the case, to be decided upon by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case.
Prosecutors have been given 30 days to go through all of the material, and defense lawyers will then have 14 days to contest the materials deemed “sensitive” by prosecutors.
A motion will be required if the two sides disagree on the materials, but everything will be considered “sensitive” until these steps are completed.
“Everything that we’ve turned over, we believe were prepared to go through it to say what’s sensitive and what’s not,” said special prosecutor Nathan Wade to McAfee, according to ABC News.
Others were less enthusiastic about the order. Tom Clyde, a lawyer unaffiliated with the case, argued that the order would violate Georgia law.
Clyde argued that the 2020 election, which is at the center of the case, is “extremely significant in public importance,” and the public has a right to view evidence presented during the trial, according to CNBC.
McAfee wrote in the ruling that he considered the arguments presented by all sides and determined that a protective order is “justified by the particular circumstances of this case.”
The case is centered around allegations that Trump and the other co-defendants in the case participated in racketeering and attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
While there has not been a trial date set at this point, prosecutors believe the trial will include over 150 witnesses called to testify, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said on Washington Post Live that she expects the trial to be finished by “winter or the very early part of 2025,” but she also anticipates that the case “will be on appeals for years.”