Georgia prosecutors want to protect evidence in election interference case after leaks
Updated November 14, 2023 at 2:23 PM ET
ATLANTA — Prosecutors in Atlanta are seeking an emergency order barring disclosure of discovery materials in the sweeping 2020 election interference case after excerpts of recorded interviews with some defendants were leaked.
The Fulton County district attorney's office previously asked Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee in September for a protective order over evidence provided to defendants in the 19-person racketeering case, but renewed the request on Tuesday after media outlets reported on snippets of so-called "proffer" videos from four defendants who struck plea deals in recent weeks.
McAfee then set a hearing on the matter for Wednesday afternoon.
The recordings from Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall and lawyers Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis were first reported by ABC News and then The Washington Postand include new revelations into the failed efforts to reverse former President Donald Trump's 2020 election defeat in Georgia that has Trump and several allies facing conspiracy charges.
In one of the videos, Ellis relays being told by an aide in late 2020 that Trump said he would refuse to leave the White House.
Prosecutors argued Tuesday that the public release of the videos, offered to defendants in the case through the discovery process, was "clearly intended to intimidate witnesses in this case, subjecting them to harassment and threats prior to trial." Prosecutors said they were not behind the leak of the materials, and that moving forward any proffer videos would only be available to view in the DA's office.
The motion also includes an email from Todd Harding, a lawyer representing defendant Harrison Floyd, stating "it was Harrison Floyd's team" that shared the videos, though the filing notes Floyd's lawyers sent a follow-up email stating the first message was a "typo." Floyd is accused of participating in efforts to harass and cajole a Fulton County election worker into falsely admitting she committed election fraud, and has argued in court that he can prove the 2020 election was stolen.
The disclosure of proffer videos and push for a protective order are the latest developments in a complicated legal battle over the sprawling racketeering case that has now spanned three different courtrooms, seen four guilty pleas, and could have Trump stand trial in a televised setting at some point in 2024, though a trial date has not been set for him or the remaining defendants.
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