Trump protecting order listening to set in election fraud case

Former president Donald Trump arrives at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, after appearing at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, Aug. 3, 2023.

Tom Brenner | The Washington Post | Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday scheduled a hearing for Friday morning on prosecutors’ request for a protective order in the criminal election case against former President Donald Trump.

Judge Tanya Chutkan set the hearing after Trump’s lawyers told her they wanted to push the session into early next week, despite Chutkan having asked both sides to offer her dates on or before Friday.

Prosecutors from the office of special counsel Jack Smith had told the judge they were available on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday for the hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The session will deal with Smith’s request that Chutkan bar Trump from publicly revealing some evidence collected during the criminal investigation.

The ex-president, who will not attend the hearing, is charged with four felonies related to his bid to reverse his loss in the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.

Shortly before Chutkan scheduled Friday’s 10 a.m. hearing, Trump attacked her in a social media post, noting she was appointed to the judiciary by former President Barack Obama and claiming she had a conflict of interest in the case.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers and Smith’s prosecutors in a joint notice in court to the judge detailed their availability for the hearing.

The notice said that Trump wants both of his lawyers, John Lauro and Todd Blanche, to be present for the hearing.

“Todd Blanche is not available on Thursday, since he must appear for a court proceeding in the prosecution brought against the same defendant, President Trump, by the Special Counsel” in federal court for the Southern District of Florida, the filing said.

“Mr. Lauro is available on Thursday, with a preference for an afternoon setting,” the filing said.

“However, since we lost Friday as an option, we would respectfully request a setting on Monday (after 12:00 p.m.) or Tuesday (all day) to allow for both Mr. Blanche and Mr. Lauro to be present.”

It was not stated in the notice, or clear from other sources, why Friday was not “an option” for Trump’s lawyers, or why they could not meet Wednesday.

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Trump has a decades-old history of trying to drag out and complicate legal proceedings through procedural tactics and appeals. His camp has already shown a tendency to apply that strategy to his newest case.

Trump on Sunday said he wants to have the case transferred out of the District of Columbia, and Chutkan off the bench.

“THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GET A FAIR TRIAL WITH THE JUDGE ‘ASSIGNED,'” he wrote in a social media post that day.

Chutkan a day earlier had denied a bid by Lauro to delay a deadline for replying to the protective order request.

The other criminal case in Florida lodged by Smith accuses Trump of retaining hundreds of classified government records after he left the White House, taking steps to hide them from federal officials and trying to destroy video evidence showing the documents being moved around his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both federal criminal cases.

He separately is criminally charged in New York state court in Manhattan with falsifying business records in connection with a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

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