Wednesday in court, it was disclosed who leaked videos containing the testimony of two former co-defendants in the racketeering case against former President Donald Trump.
Misty Hampton, a former Coffee County elections supervisor and co-defendant of Trump represented in court by Jonathan Miller, disclosed that he had provided the videos to a media organization.
“And so that I can go to sleep well tonight, judge, I did release those videos to one outlet,” Miller told the court. “And in all candor to the court, I need the court to know that.”
MSNBC broadcast an audio segment featuring Blayne Alexander, an NBC reporter who has been closely observing the trial, in which Miller provided the admission.
Following the release of the recordings, District Attorney Fani Willis petitioned the judge for a protective order in an effort to avert the disclosure of additional evidence of a similar nature.
Willis filed a “emergency renewed motion” with the court on Tuesday, requesting an immediate halt to the release of any additional evidence, a hearing on a prior motion filed seeking the same prohibition, and, ultimately, a permanent injunction preventing the unauthorized release of the evidence.
According to Alexander, Miller expressed the view that the prosecution’s proposed protective order was superfluous, as did a number of the attorneys representing the co-defendants in the case.
Miller stated that he distributed the videos because he believed the public had a right to view them and because two of the videos contained testimony that aided his client’s case.
Miller was not held accountable by the judge for the disclosure.
Alexander postulated that Miller’s claim of receiving only two of the four videos and the apparent receipt of the videos by multiple outlets suggested that he may not have been the sole leaker.
Subsequently, she ostensibly took Willis’ side against her own profession, arguing that the disclosure demonstrated the protective order’s necessity in order to prevent journalists like herself from obtaining evidence.
“I do think all of it, though, underscores the DA’s argument that there needs to be a protective order so that nothing like this is released in the future,” she said.
Judge Scott McAfee said that the court and the public had “already seen what may happen if a protective order isn’t put in place, which is onerous logistical burdens that we’re going to have to discuss,” according to WSB-TV.
However, he acknowledged that while a protective order could mitigate the likelihood of additional breaches, it could not entirely eradicate that risk.
WSB-TV reported that an attorney for one of the co-defendants proposed a more restricted protective order require prosecutors to designate specific pieces of evidence as “sensitive,” a designation that the co-defendants could contest if they so desired.
A number of authorities have determined that the disclosed video testimony is detrimental to the defense of Trump, if not his co-defendants.
“The entire idea behind the indictment is that Donald Trump was driving the bus and doing so in a way that was only intended to secure power,” Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University, told The Hill. “To the extent that this kind of evidence supports that theory, I think it’s really damning to the good-faith justifications that have been put out by his allies and his attorneys.”