Authorities investigating online threats made to potential witness related to Trump classified docs case

The threats are cited in a court filing from the special prosecutor.

February 8, 2024, 8:53 AM

Federal authorities are currently investigating a series of threats made online to a potential witness related to special counsel Jack Smith's classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, according to a new court filing from Smith's team.

In the filing late Wednesday in federal court in Florida, Smith's team asked U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the judge overseeing the case, to let them file an exhibit under seal because, they wrote, "The exhibit describes in some detail threats that have been made over social media to a prospective Government witness and the 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."

"Disclosure of the details and circumstances of the threats risks disrupting the investigation," the filing said.

The targeted witness was not identified.

The three-page filing discussing the probe was submitted as part of a dispute between Smith's team and Trump's lawyers over how much information should be redacted -- or totally withheld from public view -- in certain court filings.

In their filing Wednesday, Smith's team urged Judge Cannon to let them file the exhibit completely under seal because, they said, simply redacting names or other parts of the document could still "provide information to the suspect to which he/she may not otherwise be entitled."

Last year, Smith indicted Trump in Florida for allegedly defying a federal grand jury subpoena and trying to hide classified documents from both the FBI and his own attorney. Smith then indicted Trump in Washington, D.C., for allegedly trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty in both cases and denied all wrongdoing.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump arrives at the New York State Supreme Court in New York, on Oct. 2, 2023.
Former President Donald Trump arrives at the New York State Supreme Court in New York, on Oct. 2, 2023.
Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In October, Smith's team accused Trump of threatening his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, after an ABC News report detailed some of what Meadows allegedly told investigators about Trump and the 2020 presidential election, including that he repeatedly told Trump in the weeks following the election that allegations of significant voting fraud coming to them were baseless.

After the ABC News report, Trump posted to his social media platform, Truth Social, that he wouldn't expect Meadows to "lie about the Rigged and Stolen" election "merely for getting IMMUNITY," but that "Some people would make that deal."

"[T]hey are weaklings and cowards, and so bad for the future of our Failing Nation," Trump wrote.

In a subsequent court filing, Smith's team said Trump's "harmful" post on Truth Social was trying to "send an unmistakable and threatening message to a foreseeable witness in this case."

Smith's team argued to U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan that the alleged threat was just one more example of why a limited gag order in the case was needed. Such a gag order now remains in place.

A spokesperson for Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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