Trump’s election judge in Georgia will issue an evidentiary warrant

  • A judge in Georgia will issue an order banning the public release of sensitive evidence shared by attorneys before trial in the criminal election interference cases against Donald Trump and his co-defendants.
  • The protective order was requested by prosecutors from the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office after interviews with attorneys Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell were leaked to the media.
  • Trump and the others are accused of extortion to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden in Georgia.

Judge Scott McAfee presides over a hearing for Harrison Floyd at the Fulton County Courthouse on November 3, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Christian Monterrosa | Getty Images

A Georgia judge said Wednesday he will issue a protective order barring the public release of confidential evidence shared between prosecutors and lawyers representing former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants in their criminal cases over election interference in that state.

“Until we decide what is relevant and admissible, this case should be heard and not in the court of public opinion,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said at a hearing on the proposed order.

The order was requested by prosecutors and accepted by most of the defense team on Wednesday after videos of off-the-record interviews were leaked to the media this week in which four co-defendants, including attorneys Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, gave statements to prosecutors As part of their agreements, they have the opportunity to plead guilty.

At Wednesday’s hearing, attorney Jonathan Miller, representing defendant Misty Hampton, told McAfee that he had shared the videos with “a media outlet.” He didn’t say which one.

Miller said the public has a right to know what the four co-defendants told the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, arguing that the statements they made “help my client.”

ABC News first reported statements from Ellis and Powell in their so-called offer videos, while The Washington Post first reported statements from Chesbro and bail bondsman Scott Hall in their own offer sessions.

Fulton County Sheriff’s Office

Nathan Wade, a prosecutor, told McAfee that prosecutors will determine what evidence is considered “sensitive” and therefore subject to the protective order, “and what is not.”

Sensitive information includes any videos offered, as well as confidential business documents, personal information and “additional things that I think should be kept confidential because of their nature,” Wade said.

Tom Clyde, an attorney for a group of media companies, argued against the protective order, saying it was not justified by Georgia law.

Clyde said that a central issue in this case – the legitimacy of the 2020 election – is “of utmost public importance” and that certain related evidence should not be subject to an order that automatically prohibits its release.

Trump and the other defendants were accused of crimes related to their efforts to overturn his election loss to President Joe Biden in Georgia.