Manhattan DA Moves To Stop Trump From Looking at Trial Documents Without Supervision

Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg (D.) / Getty Images
April 26, 2023

Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg on Tuesday asked the judge in Donald Trump’s criminal trial to bar the former president from reviewing documents in his case without his lawyers present, citing investigations into his handling of classified documents. 

The request, which also calls for banning Trump from publicizing the prosecution’s evidence, is expected to be challenged by the former president’s lawyers, the New York Times reported. The decision will fall to Judge Juan Merchan. 

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records surrounding payments to former lawyer Michael Cohen, who allegedly then made hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.  

Catherine McCaw, assistant district attorney, argued Trump should be limited in accessing case filings because of the investigation into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago when the Biden Justice Department raided the resort in August 2022. 

Trump "is currently under federal investigation for his handling of classified materials, [giving] rise to significant concern that defendant will similarly misuse grand jury and other sensitive materials here," McCaw said. 

McCaw said certain materials should only be reviewed with lawyers present, the Times reported

She requested that Mr. Trump — or anyone else who received the case materials — be blocked from disseminating them to news or social media platforms. And she said that there was a smaller subset of materials that should be kept in the "exclusive control" of his lawyers. Mr. Trump should be barred from reviewing that material without his lawyers present, Ms. McCaw said. She did not elaborate on what that material was expected to include.

The request comes a week after a federal judge denied Bragg’s attempt to stop a House GOP investigation into the charges and case. Bragg sought to stop Republican Jim Jordan (Ohio) from subpoenaing one of his former employees. 

Bragg faces criticism from Manhattan residents over his handling of rising violent crime. House Republicans held a hearing last week in New York City where victims told their stories, including a former bodega owner who killed a criminal in self-defense and was subsequently charged by Bragg for murder.