Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to protect the identities of several witnesses involved in the criminal case accusing former President Donald J. Trump of illegally retaining classified documents, saying that if their names were revealed before trial they could be exposed to “intolerable and needless risks.”
“There is a well-documented pattern in which judges, agents, prosecutors and witnesses involved in cases involving Trump have been subject to threats, harassment and intimidation,” the prosecutors wrote.
The request to protect the witnesses — made in court papers filed late Thursday night — came after Mr. Trump’s legal team asked Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who is overseeing the case, for permission to name some of the witnesses in court papers it recently filed related to arguments about discovery evidence.
Judge Cannon ultimately ruled in favor of Mr. Trump and said the witnesses could be identified. The government responded on Thursday night by accusing her of having committed a “clear error” and by asking her to rethink her decision and to keep the identities of more than two dozen witnesses from being revealed.
The filing reflected what seemed to be a mounting sense of frustration with Judge Cannon on the part of prosecutors working for the special counsel Jack Smith.
The papers were filed just days before the defense and the prosecution were scheduled to meet in Federal District Court in Fort Pierce, Fla., to discuss, among other things, a highly unusual request by Mr. Trump’s lawyers to gain access to a secret government filing concerning classified discovery evidence in the case.
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