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Prosecutors on Friday night called a judge’s attention to a social media post from Donald Trump — issued hours earlier — in which they say the former president appeared to declare that he’s “coming after” those he sees as responsible for the series of formidable legal challenges he is facing.
Attorneys from special counsel Jack Smith’s team said the post from Trump “specifically or by implication” referenced those involved in his criminal case for seeking to subvert the 2020 election.
In a court filing just before 10 p.m. Friday, Senior Assistant Special Counsels Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom alerted the judge in Trump’s latest criminal case — U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan — to a combative post Trump sent earlier in the day.
“If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” Trump wrote in all caps Friday afternoon on Truth Social, which is run by a media company he co-owns.
The prosecutors said Trump’s post raised concerns that he might improperly share evidence in the case on his social media account and they urged that he be ordered to keep any evidence prosecutors turn over to his defense team from public view.
“All the proposed order seeks to prevent is the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including to the public,” Gaston and Windom wrote. “Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him. … And in recent days, regarding this case, the defendant has issued multiple posts—either specifically or by implication—including the following, which the defendant posted just hours ago.”
“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,” a Trump spokesperson said in a statement.
On Saturday, Judge Chutkan ordered that Trump's team file a response to the government's motion by 5 p.m. Monday. Trump's attorneys attempted to extend the deadline, which the judge denied.
Smith’s office has not sought a gag order in either of the criminal cases it is pursuing against Trump: one in Florida focused on his retention of classified documents and the other in Washington over his efforts to interfere with the certification of the 2020 presidential election. The filing Friday night does not make any request to bar Trump or his attorneys from discussing the D.C. case publicly or with the media.
However, prosecutors in that case have indicated they’re prepared to share a “substantial“ volume of evidence with Trump as soon as Chutkan approves an order governing the handling of evidence. Chutkan is slated to bring attorneys for both sides to court on Aug. 28 to discuss setting a trial date. It’s unclear if Trump’s post will prompt her to seek more immediate efforts to implement a protective order or to impose a gag order, which can be issued under D.C. federal court rules.
Trump’s Truth Social post came one day after he swore in federal court that he would not make any effort to influence or retaliate against witnesses or make any other actions that might obstruct the administration of justice in his case. Asked by a magistrate judge on Thursday to verify that he would comply with that instruction, Trump acknowledged it and said that he would.
The Truth Social post made no specific reference to any witnesses or court personnel, but Trump has often used his social media megaphone to attack prosecutors and judges in the criminal cases he is facing.