Judge orders Trump not to disclose evidence in classified documents case

(NEW YORK) — A federal judge on Monday approved a protective order sought by special counsel Jack Smith to keep former President Donald Trump from disclosing sensitive information in his classified documents case.

Smith sought the order to ensure that neither Trump nor codefendant Walt Nauta, Trump’s presidential valet, disclose sensitive information obtained during the discovery process, where prosecutors will show the defense what evidence it has amassed during their investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents since leaving office.

Trump was charged last week with 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials, after prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information ranging from U.S. nuclear secrets to the nation’s defense capabilities.

The protective order said Trump and Nauta “shall 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.”

In seeking the order on Friday, prosecutors said the materials include “sensitive and confidential information,” including personal identifiable information, information that reveals investigative techniques, non-public information relating to potential witnesses, and personal information contained on electronic devices and accounts.

Notably, the special counsel also said the materials include “information pertaining to ongoing investigations, the disclosure of which could compromise those investigations and identify uncharged individuals.”

Violations of the protective order “may result in contempt of court or other civil or criminal sanctions,” the judge’s order said.

A similar protective order was sought and issued last month in New York City, where prosecutors said they were concerned that Trump would post to social media evidence in a separate case involving a hush payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing in both cases.

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