Former US President Donald Trump delivers remarks during an event following his impeachment over classified documents at the Trump National Golf Club, in Bedminster, New Jersey, US, on June 13, 2023.

Amr Alfika | Reuters

A federal judge issued a protective order Monday barring former President Donald Trump from releasing — or withholding — evidence the government is expected to turn over to him in the classified social media documents case.

An order against Trump and Walt Naut, his co-defendant in a criminal case alleging he mishandled national security information, prohibits them from sharing evidence, federal investigators are set to begin contacting their lawyers as part of the discovery process.

“Discovery materials, along with any information derived from them, will not be released to the news media or disseminated on a news or social media platform without prior notice and consent of the United States or the consent of the court,” Judge Bruce Reinhart said in the order.

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It prohibits them from releasing information about government evidence to people not directly involved in the case without express permission from a judge, and warns that they could face criminal contempt charges if they violate the order.

It also limits Trump’s access to the material.

“Defendants will have access to the Discovery Materials only under the direct supervision of counsel or a member of his staff. Defendants will not retain copies of the Discovery Materials,” the ruling reads.

The ruling largely follows a request for a protective order filed by the government in the case on Friday. In that filing, the government said attorneys for Trump and Nauta have “no objections to this motion or protective order.”

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, declined to comment on the order.

The information plaintiffs seek to protect includes “sensitive and confidential information,” including “information that reveals sensitive but unclassified investigative techniques; non-public information regarding potential witnesses and other third parties (including transcripts and exhibits and records of witness interviews); financial information of third parties; third-party location information and personal data contained in electronic devices and accounts.”

“The materials also contain information related to ongoing investigations, the release of which could jeopardize those investigations and identify uncharged individuals,” they said in their filing Friday.

Trump, 77, he was indicted earlier this month on 37 federal felonies, including willful withholding of national defense information, so f

also statements and declarations and conspiracy to pervert justice.

begged not guilty at his arraignment last week. Nauta, whose lawyer declined to comment on the case, is expected to plead guilty to the charges next week.

Trump was he slapped with a similar order in a New York criminal case where he is accused of dozens of counts of falsifying business records. Trump’s lawyers objected to part of the order in that case.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office said the restrictions were necessary because the “risk” that Trump would use the evidence “inappropriately” was “substantial.”

“Donald J. Trump has a long and perhaps unique history of assaulting witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, grand jurors, grand jurors, judges and others involved in legal proceedings against him, placing these individuals and their families at significant security risk,” Office DA argued va submission to court.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in this case.

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