Donald Trump’s social media outburst has been flagged by U.S. prosecutors from in a late-night court filing on Friday, after arguing that it suggests he might intimidate witnesses by improperly disclosing confidential evidence received from the government.
The disturbing post on Trump’s Truth Social site, showed “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” on Friday afternoon, a day after he pleaded not guilty to charges that he orchestrated a criminal conspiracy to try to reverse his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Hours after his post, federal prosecutors asked District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to issue an order that would limit what discovery evidence Trump and his legal can share publicly, citing Trump’s love for ranting on social media.
The former president was indicted Monday on four charges as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the alleged conspiracy and the 6 January Capitol riot. The indictment also described six unnamed co-conspirators, though observers have credibly guessed most of their identities.
The former president has railed against the indictment, calling for the “fake” case to be moved out of Washington DC where he claims it is “IMPOSSIBLE to get a fair trial”.
Meanwhile in Georgia, where other prosecutors are investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results in that state, security was tightened around the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta as the city prepares for the possible announcement of what would be Trump’s fourth criminal indictment this year.
Trump’s social media post raised concerns that he might publicly reveal secret material, such as grand jury transcripts, obtained from prosecutors, as disclosed in the filing in Washington federal court, the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith said.
Special counsel Jack Smith’s team said such an order could help prevent a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses” adding Trump has a history of attacking judges, attorneys and witnesses in other cases against him.
Taking preventive measures, it sought a protective order prohibiting Trump and his lawyers from sharing any discovery materials with unauthorized people.
In reaction, the Trump campaign then issued a statement insisting his post was not a threat of revenge but rather “political speech”.
“The Truth post cited is the definition of political speech, and was in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch brothers and the Club for No Growth,” the campaign said.
On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan gave Trump until 5 p.m. on Monday to respond.
Under the process known as discovery, prosecutors are required to provide defendants with the evidence against them so they can prepare their defense.
Trump’s recent social media meltdown has also been criticized by Ex-White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, claiming they could be considered intimidating to the federal prosecution overseeing his 2020 election lies case.
“I just don’t understand does somebody have to get hurt before people take this kind of online intimidation seriously?” Ms Grisham said on CNN.
“Legally, it doesn’t seem like it’s very smart but how is that not intimidation?” Ms Grisham asked. She called the ex-president’s speech “chilling”.