Georgia judge issues order to prevent future leaks of sensitive evidence in Trump election racketeering case

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The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s racketeering case over efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia has issued a protective order on sensitive discovery materials in the case.

In his order, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee wrote that a protective order was necessary in part because providing “parties the unfettered ability to share pretrial materials with the public undermines” the process.

The move comes a day after a hearing addressing the leak of key video evidence by a defense attorney for one of Trump’s co-defendants.

“Having considered the dueling proposed protective orders, the law, and argument of counsel, the Court finds the entry of a protective order concerning pretrial discovery necessary and justified by the particular circumstances of this case,” McAfee wrote in his ruling.

According to Thursday’s order, it will be up to the Fulton County district attorney’s office to specifically designate discovery materials that it deems sensitive. Defendants will have up to 14 days to contest that designation.

If prosecutors and defense attorneys cannot come to an agreement on the sensitivity of materials, a motion will have to be filed with the court, and meantime the defense would have to treat any disputed discovery as “sensitive” material until the motion is ruled upon by the court, the order said.

Additionally, the order says defense attorneys will be able to store the materials in good faith. Fulton County prosecutors had suggested that defense attorneys would have to physically come to the DA’s office to view the materials.

Prosecutors asked McAfee to impose the protective order to restrict how defendants can handle materials they receive in the discovery process after videotaped interviews of defendants who struck plea deals with prosecutors were leaked to the press earlier this week.

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