Former President Donald Trump has shot back at special counsel Jack Smith after the prosecutor asked for a gag order that would restrict Trump from making certain public statements.
With Smith heading the case, the Justice Department has brought four federal indictments against Trump.
The former president faces charges that allege he falsified business records, mishandled classified documents after leaving office and other charges related to his attempt to question the results of the 2020 election.
The federal judge presiding over the case, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, is known for having been especially tough on those involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion.
Smith now aims to use Trump’s own words against him by asking Chutkan to place a gag order on Trump, citing his “disparaging and inflammatory attacks on the citizens of this District, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses.”
“The defendant knows that when he publicly attacks individuals and institutions, he inspires others to perpetrate threats and harassment against his targets,” Smith’s office wrote in semi-redacted government filings released Friday.
Is Jack Smith overstepping his bounds?
“The defendant continues these attacks on individuals precisely because he knows that in doing so, he is able to roil the public and marshal and prompt his supporters. As he acknowledged in a televised town hall on May 10, 2023, his supporters listen to him ‘like no one else,’” Smith’s office said.
As evidence of this, Smith pointed to a Truth Social post from early August, which came a day after his arraignment and read: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”
Trump’s legal team has previously defended this comment, explaining that it was “in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs,” and was not aimed at Smith or other public officials.
Smith, however, likened Trump’s current attacks against the court to that of his previous “disinformation campaign” on the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“Like his previous public disinformation campaign regarding the 2020 presidential election, the defendant’s recent extrajudicial statements are intended to undermine public confidence in an institution — the judicial system — and to undermine confidence in and intimidate individuals — the Court, the jury pool, witnesses, and prosecutors,” his office said.
The gag order requested by Smith would establish a “narrow, well-defined restriction” on what Trump and his legal team are allowed to say about the case against him.
Trump issued a statement in response to Smith’s request, saying President Joe Biden has “weaponized” the DOJ to go after him because he is the leading Republican contender in the 2024 presidential race.
“Biden Prosecutor, Deranged Jack Smith, has asked the Court to limit 45th President, and leading Republican Nominee (by more than 50 points, & beating Dems!) DONALD J. TRUMP’S, PUBLIC STATEMENTS. So, I’m campaigning for President against an incompetent person who has WEAPONIZED the DOJ & FBI to go after his Political Opponent, & I am not allowed to COMMENT?” Trump wrote.
“They Leak, Lie, & Sue, & they won’t allow me to SPEAK? How else would I explain that Jack Smith is DERANGED, or Crooked Joe is INCOMPETENT?” he added.
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