Former U.S. Senate intelligence staffer asks court for Trump gag order

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former Senate committee security official, charged with lying to the FBI about contacts with reporters, on Tuesday asked a court to issue a gag order prohibiting U.S. President Donald Trump and others from commenting on the case.

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

In court filings, lawyers for James Wolfe, former security chief for the Senate Intelligence Committee, said comments by Trump after Wolfe’s June 7 arrest were “highly prejudicial” and asked the court to issue an order prohibiting further public comments on the case by Trump and others.

In an indictment made public earlier this month, federal prosecutors accused Wolfe, who worked for the committee for nearly 30 years, of lying to the FBI when he claimed he had not been in contact with any reporter, and claimed he did not disclose information he had learned while working for the committee to two journalists. Wolfe is not specifically charged with leaking classified information.

Wolfe pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing before a federal magistrate judge last week.

In their motion seeking a gag order, Wolfe’s lawyers said that the morning after Wolfe’s arrest, Trump announced that the Justice Department had caught “a very important leaker.” The lawyers say that at the time Trump made these statements, Wolfe had not yet been arraigned on the charges, let alone had them heard by a judge or jury.

The lawyers said that Trump’s “prejudicial and improper statements” were widely reported by news media. They asked the judge in the case to issue an order “prohibiting further extrajudicial statements” by participants in the case, “including all relevant members of the Executive Branch, up to and including the President of the United States.”

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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