FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Attorney Jonathan Miller, who is representing former Coffee County elections director Misty Hampton, admitted to leaking the videos of defendants who pleaded guilty during today's court hearing.
"Ms. Hampton does not believe an order is necessary. That this is one of the biggest cases this country has had, and that transparency is important," said attorney Jonathan Miller, who represents Misty Hampton.
"In being transparent with the court, and to make sure that nobody else gets blamed for what happened, and so that I can go to sleep well tonight, judge, I did release those videos to one outlet," said attorney Miller.
Miller said he would still adhere to any court order.
When questioned by Judge Scott McAfee as to why he felt the need to release the videos, Miller responded, "To... hide those proffers that show all the underlying things that went into those pleas, it misleads the public about what’s going on."
Miller argued because of the intense public interest in the case, a protective order restricting the release of certain information favors the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, allowing them to set the tone of the case.
"That’s what needs protecting judge, the public has the right to know," Miller argued.
Deputy District Attorney Will Wooten disagreed with his rationale.
"There's no first amendment right for the public to access any pretrial discovery materials, so as a threshold matter, we don't believe they have a standing to object period. We would note that all the individuals and parties that have standing, in some form or fashion, are consenting to this order with some limited objections," said Wooten.
Tom Clyde who is counsel for multiple media agencies, argued that would give the state too much power, including deciding what’s newsworthy.
"This structure would have to have standards in place that would limit decisions, otherwise both parties could, just as a matter of convenience, agree to keep all this confidential," said Clyde.
Attorney Catherine Bernard, Attorney for Jeffrey Clark also objected to the order.
"We do not believe that this protective order is necessary given the fact that the information relevant to this case and discovery is almost all information that is of public import, public availability and public record," said Bernard.
Judge McAfee said during the hearing that he will announce his decision on the order Thursday morning.
Trump Georgia election case: DA asks for protective order after leak of videos
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is asking a judge to enter a protective order over materials related to her office's case against former President Donald Trump and his allies over alleged interference in Georgia's 2020 election.
The request was filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County on Tuesday. In the document obtained by FOX 5, Willis asked the court to schedule an emergency hearing and enter a temporary order prohibiting the disclosure of discovery materials by anyone involved.
Willis' request comes a day after ABC News and the Washington Post published footage of Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Kenneth Chesebro, and Scott Hall being questioned by prosecutors. The four former defendants in the county's RICO indictment had previously taken plea deals and agreed to cooperate in Fulton County's investigation.
In part of the footage shared by ABC News, Ellis tells prosecutors that Trump's deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino told her "the boss" wouldn't leave the White House after losing the election.
"He said, ‘The boss is not going to leave under any circumstances. We are just going to stay in power,’" Ellis said. "And I said to him, ‘Well, it doesn’t quite work that way, you realize.’ And he said, ‘We don’t care.’"
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. A grand jury today handed up an indictment naming former President Donald Trump and his Repub
Willis had previously requested the protective order on discovery materials in September, but a judge has not issued a court order at this time.
"These confidential video recordings were not released by the State to any party other than the Defendants charged in the indictment, pursuant to the discovery process as required by law," Willis wrote in her request for the emergency protective order.
In emails shared by Willis in her request, the counsel for Black Voices for Trump director Harrison Floyd said it was sent from their team before sending another email saying that his message was a "typo."
Willis claimed that the leaking of the videos was "clearly intended to intimidate witnesses in this case, subjecting them to harassment and threats prior to trial."
To prevent any more confidential recordings from being passed to the media, prosecutors said they will require defendants to go to the Fulton County District Attorney's Office to view them in person and take notes.
You can read the Fulton County District Attorney's full request below:
One of the defendants, David Shafer, who is the former chair of the Georgia Republican Party, filed a motion in response opposing the move.
Shafer, on behalf of several of the other defendants, including former President Trump, has offered an alternative protective order.
A judge will hear arguments for both protective orders during a hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
You can read the defendants' response below: