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Judge to issue protective order in Georgia Trump case

Judge Scott McAfee appears in a hearing on the Trump indictment at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. (Arvin Temkar/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

A Fulton County judge Wednesday said he would draft an order protecting some evidence from pre-trial disclosure in the Donald Trump election interference case – even as a defense attorney admitted he had already leaked some of the evidence in question to the news media.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case tentatively agreed to an order that would allow some evidence shared during the discovery process to be labeled “sensitive” and withheld from public scrutiny, at least initially. At a hearing Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee indicated he would draft a protective order based on the proposed compromise.

McAFee’s decision came over the objection of news organizations – including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – that argued the evidence in the case is of tremendous public interest and should not be withheld. The judge’s decision also followed a courtroom admission by Jonathan Miller – an attorney for defendant Misty Hampton – that he leaked some previously undisclosed videotaped testimony to the news media earlier this week.

Miller said the testimony aided his client’s case and “the public needs to know that.”

McAfee admonished Miller and cited the leak as evidence of the need for a protective order.

“It seems like having open (evidence) files for everyone to start litigating the case before we actually get inside of a courtroom comes with a lot of side effects that I don’t know if we’ve thought through,” McAfee said.


© 2023 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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