A potential government witness in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case against former President Donald Trump has received online threats that are now under federal investigation, special counsel Jack Smith said in a new court filing.
Smith requested permission from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to file an exhibit under seal until the federal probe is either closed or resolved by adjudication. The special counsel’s office also wants to bar Trump’s legal team from viewing the exhibit.
“The exhibit describes in some detail threats that have been made over social media to a prospective Government witness and surrounding circumstances, and the fact that those threats are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation being handled by a United States Attorney’s Office,” Smith wrote in the motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
He added, “Disclosure of the details and circumstances of the threats risks disrupting the investigation.”
The special counsel said anything other than sealing the exhibit “will not suffice to protect the integrity of the investigation” because even with redacted names, the exhibit’s details “could reveal investigative methods, potentially further endanger the victim, and/or provide information to the suspect to which he/she may not otherwise be entitled.”
Smith didn’t provide any information about the potential witness or the threats he or she received on social media.
Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche declined to comment on the matter Thursday.
In the other case being prosecuted by Smith against Trump, on election interference, Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a gag order on the former president after he explicitly took aim at her, as well as the special counsel and other prosecutors and potential witnesses in the case.
The case has been scheduled to go to trial in May, but the date could be pushed back. A scheduling conference is set for March 1.
Trump faces a number of criminal charges in the case, including willful retention of national defense information, false statements and representations, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and corruptly concealing documents. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.