- The Washington Times
Monday, July 9, 2018

A federal judge Monday said a decision on the motion to bar President Trump from speaking out against former Senate staffer James Wolfe could come within the next two weeks.

However, a late August decision is more likely, U.S. District Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson told prosecutors and defense counsel in a D.C. courtroom. A quicker filing of dueling motions related to the ban on government employees, including Mr. Trump, from discussing the case could yield a decision by July 26, she said.

Mr. Wolfe, who worked for the Senate Select Intelligence Committee for nearly 30 years, is accused of lying about his personal relationships with reporters to FBI agents investigating the leak of classified information. He is charged with making false statements to investigators and has pleaded not guilty.

Federal prosecutors said Monday they have turned over 1.5 terabytes, which amounts to at least 30,000 documents, to Mr. Wolfe’s attorneys. The government and defense counsel said they met Thursday to discuss document production.

The status hearing was largely focused on setting a date for Judge Jackson to issue a ruling on the defense motion to silence Mr. Trump.

Mr. Wolfe’s attorneys say that he cannot get a fair trial because of the president’s comments. In court documents they have alleged Mr. Trump has strayed far from the language and substance of the indictment.

Although Mr. Wolfe is suspected of giving sensitive Senate Intelligence Committee information to current New York Times reporter Ali Watkins, he has not been charged with leaking classified materials.

That has not stopped Mr. Trump from referring to Mr. Wolfe as “a very important leaker” and calling his arrest “a terrific thing.”

Speaking to reporters shortly after Mr. Wolfe’s arrest last month, Mr. Trump again accused the former Senate staffer of leaking confidential information.

“I believe strongly in the freedom of the press,” the president told reporters. “I’m a big, big believer in freedom of the pressBut I’m also a believer in classified information. It has to remain classified. And that includes [former FBI Director James] Comey and his band of thieves who leaked classified information all over the place. So I’m a big believer in freedom of the press, but I’m also a believer [that] you cannot leak classified information.”

At a hearing last month, Judge Jackson seemed skeptical of the legal maneuver because gag orders typically apply to those directly involved in the case, not third parties. She told Preston Burton, an attorney for Mr. Wolfe, that it appears the motion may only apply to lawyers and witnesses.

The government has challenged in the motion in court, arguing that it would reduce Mr. Wolfe’s chances of having a speedy trial because it will require a response from Mr. Trump’s legal team.

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