Trump Atty. Lauro: DOJ Protective Order Seeks to Block Information

John Lauro, the attorney representing former President Donald Trump in his latest indictment alleging conspiracy to reverse his 2020 election loss, argued Sunday that the federal prosecutors’ demand for a protective order in the wake of a Trump social media post shows that President Joe Biden’s administration wants an order in place to block the press from getting information about the case. 

Further, he told “Fox News Sunday” that when Trump posted an all-caps message on his Truth Social page warning “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” the day after his arraignment in Washington, D.C., he was responding to political opponents, not the legal proceedings. 

“This is the problem with bringing this in a political season,” Lauro, who appeared on several other morning news shows Sunday, said. “President Trump was responding to political opponents and the Biden administration wants the judge to put in place an order that will prevent the press from obtaining exculpatory and material information that might be relevant to the proceedings.”

Trump, he added, has argued from the beginning, “as I have, that this indictment is an attack on his First Amendment rights. Now the Biden administration wants to deny all Americans the opportunity to learn nonsensitive information about what the case involves.”

Lauro added that in 2022 Biden insisted he would take Trump out of the election, and now, with Trump in the lead for the GOP nomination, “we see the Biden Justice Department is acting on the Biden plan.

“So President Trump in the middle of a political season, is certainly entitled to respond,” said Lauro. “Make no mistake, this is an effort to prevent President Trump from running for president.”

He added that the same “theories” in the four-count indictment against Trump could also apply to Biden “for enlisting his Justice Department under the Biden plan to prevent Donald Trump from running for president.”

Lauro also insisted that the First Amendment also protects “conduct, as well as speech,” and noted that Trump used no executive power in his push back against the election. 

“He simply petitioned and asked state legislatures and state electoral officials around the country to act responsibly and petitioned, not directed, petitioned Vice President [Mike Pence] ultimately to pause voting on Jan. 6 to allow the states to weigh in on auditing or recertifying.”

And that, Lauro argued, is “at its core, First Amendment-protected speech,” as anyone can petition the government with grievances or request redress action. 

Meanwhile, Lauro said he wants Trump’s trial to be televised but he’s convinced the Biden administration “does not want the American people to see the truth,” as shown by the protective order the prosecution is seeking. 

“I’m shocked all the networks haven’t lined up and filed pleadings objecting to this attempt by the Biden Administration to keep information away from the American people during an election season,” he said. “The American people have a right to know. Of course, Joe Biden doesn’t want that to happen.”

Lauro, when appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” sparred with host Dana Bash about whether Biden was involved in seeking a protective order, and then repeated that “we will not agree to keep information that’s not sensitive from the press.”

Lauro, when asked if he wants Trump to quit making public attacks that include calling special counsel Jack Smith deranged, hedged on the question. Instead, he said that the defense will fight the “outside of the bounds criminal prosecution of First Amendment rights” in court.

He also pushed back at former Attorney General Bill Barr’s comments disagreeing with the free speech defense and that that does not give anyone the right to engage in a “fraudulent conspiracy.” 

“There was no fraudulent conspiracy,” said Lauro. “When it comes to political speech, you cannot only advocate for a position, but you can take action, you can petition, you can ask even your vice president to pause the vote for a period of time.” 

Meanwhile, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Lauro said Trump’s defense is “quite simple.”

“[He] believed in his heart of hearts that he had won that election and as any American citizen he had a right to speak out under the First Amendment.

“The government, the Biden administration would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Trump did not believe that he had won the election,” Lauro said. “They will never be able to do that and that’s why this prosecution is so ill-conceived.”

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