Federal Judge Denies Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order Against Trump

Federal Judge Denies Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order Against Trump
(Left) Former US President Donald Trump addresses Christian broadcasters at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 22, 2024. (Right) Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the press at the US Department of Justice building in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023. (Kevin Wurm, Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon on Tuesday denied a gag order request submitted by special counsel Jack Smith in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case.

Over the past weekend, Mr. Smith’s team asked Judge Cannon to impose a gag order after President Trump had claimed that recently released discovery documents showed that the FBI agents were armed and were prepared to shoot him during the August 2022 search of his Mar-a-Lago property. The FBI last week, however, disputed those claims and said the documents merely suggested the agents were following bureau rules around search warrants.

In a paperless order, Judge Cannon denied Mr. Smith’s request without prejudice because, according to her, it is “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” She added that the special counsel’s motion also “did not adhere to … basic requirements” and that “any future, non-emergency motion brought in this case—whether on the topic of release conditions or anything else—shall not be filed absent meaningful, timely, and professional conferral.”

“Sufficient time needs to be afforded to permit reasonable evaluation of the requested relief by opposing counsel and to allow for adequate follow-up discussion as necessary about the specific factual and legal basis underlying the motion,” Judge Cannon added.

Mr. Smith’s team argued that the judge should move to restrict President Trump’s speech after he made the aforementioned claims about the FBI search.

“The Government moves to modify defendant Donald J. Trump’s conditions of release, to make clear that he may not make statements that pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” the filing from Mr. Smith said.

After Mr. Smith’s motion to place the order on President Trump, his attorneys responded by saying that the special counsel should be sanctioned because he allegedly violated a rule that says both parties must confer before such filings are made.

“For the reasons set forth below, in light of the Office’s blatant violation of Local Rule 88.9 and related warnings from the Court, the Court should strike the Motion, make civil contempt findings as to all government attorneys who participated in the decision to file the Motion without meaningful conferral, and impose sanctions after holding an evidentiary hearing regarding the purpose and intent behind the Office’s decision to willfully disregard required procedures,” President Trump’s lawyers wrote on Monday.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche asked prosecutors in the case to wait until Monday to meet, which Mr. Smith declined because of President Trump’s public comments.

“As we also tried to explain earlier, our judgment was that the situation your client has created necessitated a prompt request for relief that could not wait the weekend to file. We understand your position and represented to the court that you do not believe the government has engaged in adequate conferral here,” special counsel prosecutor David Harbach said in a letter to President Trump’s attorneys.

Mr. Smith’s team said that President Trump’s comments should be limited by the court due to an attack on an FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, in August 2022. They claimed that the attack occurred after President Trump allegedly made inflammatory comments after the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search, which occurred that same month.

Last year, President Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials after he left the White House in January 2021, as prosecutors have alleged that he also refused to turn them over to federal officials. They also argued that the documents contained classified information regarding nuclear secrets, defense capabilities, and other details.

Earlier this month, Judge Cannon suspended the trial date indefinitely and noted that there are a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved, including how to handle classified evidence under the Classified Information Procedures Act.

The judge also has been critical of both parties when they have not conferred on previous matters when submitting motions to dismiss.

Meanwhile, the FBI told The Epoch Times in a statement about a week ago that its agents “followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force” during the August 2022 raid. “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.”

President Trump, in campaign-related emails and statements, wrote that the FBI was “locked and loaded,” referring to to the agency’s use-of-force policy that it used during the search.

This is a breaking news story. More details will follow.

From The Epoch Times

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