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Manhattan DA urges judge to bar Trump from ‘misuse’ of ‘grand jury and other sensitive materials’

Alvin Bragg and Donald Trump

Alvin Bragg and Donald Trump

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sought a protective order on Wednesday barring former President Donald Trump from spilling grand jury and other sensitive materials.

In a 26-page motion, Bragg’s assistant district attorney Catherine McCaw noted Trump’s history of trying to undermine the various criminal investigations against him in New York, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

“Defendant has posted extensively regarding these investigations on social media and has discussed these investigations in speeches, at political rallies, and during television appearances,” her motion states. “His posts have included personal attacks on those involved in the investigation, including witnesses, jurors, and those involved in conducting or overseeing the investigations. In many instances, he has even posted regarding their family members.”

Hours after his arraignment in his hush-money case, Trump attacked presiding Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan at a rally at Mar-a-Lago. His son Donald Trump Jr. posted a photograph attacking Merchan’s daughter, noting that she worked on Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaign in 2020. Trump and his allies also have gone after Bragg, who has been besieged with threats — and received an envelope with white powder — since the former president posted on Truth Social that he expected to be arrested.

The DA’s office made note of the attacks, obliquely.

“Defendant has begun to mount similar attacks against those involved in the instant criminal case, publicly disparaging witnesses associated with the case, as well as the District Attorney, District Attorney’s Office personnel, and the Court,” the DA’s filing states. “This pattern, particularly given that Defendant is currently under federal investigation for his handling of classified materials, gives rise to significant concern that Defendant will similarly misuse grand jury and other sensitive materials here.”

What follows in the motion is a lengthy history of Trump’s attacks on prosecutors before Bragg, dating back to former special counsel Robert Mueller and his assistants in that investigation. Bragg’s office notes that Trump called him, in all caps, a “SOROS-BACKED ANIMAL,” referring to the wealthy Jewish financier.

Bragg argues that Trump’s past behavior makes it likely that the former president will misuse grand jury material.

“The risk that this Defendant will use the Covered Materials inappropriately is substantial,” the motion states. “Defendant has a long history of discussing his legal matters publicly—including by targeting witnesses, jurors, investigators, prosecutors, and judges with harassing, embarrassing, and threatening statements on social media and in other public forums—and he has already done so in this case.”

On April 12, Trump filed a massive $500 million lawsuit against Michael Cohen, his ex-fixer and a key witness in his criminal case. Bragg says Trump might use protected materials to prosecute that case too.

“The legislature did not mandate broad disclosures by the People in advance of trial so that the People’s discovery materials could be used for these purposes,” the motion says. “Rather, the purpose of the discovery reforms was to allow defendants to make informed decisions about whether to plead guilty in criminal cases.”

Bragg seeks an order that would only allow Trump to review certain discovery materials in the presence of counsel — and barring the former president from “posting the Covered Materials to any news or social media platforms, including, but not limited, to Truth Social, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, or YouTube, without prior approval from the Court.”

Read the proposed protective order here.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."