Trump Attorneys Urge Judge to Reject Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order

Trump Attorneys Urge Judge to Reject Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Request for Gag Order
(Left) Former President Donald Trump arrives back at Trump Tower in New York on May 30, 2024. (Center) U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. (Right) Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the press at the Department of Justice building in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images; U.S. Southern District of Florida; Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys responded to special counsel Jack Smith’s gag order request in his classified documents case by asking a federal judge to reject the prosecutors’ claims.

The attorneys wrote in a June 14 court filing to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that the gag order request in the Florida case is a “shocking display of overreach” and is “unconstitutional,” adding that prosecutors haven’t submitted evidence of alleged threats or harassment that resulted from the 45th president’s comments on the case.

“Not a single FBI agent who participated in the raid submitted an affidavit, or even an argument, claiming that President Trump’s remarks put them at risk,” the former president’s attorneys wrote.

The gag order request, they added, should be blocked by the judge because it has “ambiguities,” a “lack of enforcement criteria,” and a “chilling effect” on free speech.

Former President Trump’s lawyers also argued that it would violate his right to “core political speech,” a claim similar to that made by his attorneys in his New York criminal trial after the presiding judge, Justice Juan Merchan, initiated a gag order that prohibited the former president from commenting on certain individuals connected to the case.

In court filings earlier this month, prosecutors argued that former President Trump’s recent claims about FBI agents’ being armed during the August 2022 search of his Mar-a-Lago property would invite threats and harassment against law enforcement agents.

The FBI told The Epoch Times last month that during the 2022 search, its agents followed standard policy in the search warrant.

“The FBI 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,” the FBI spokesperson said. “No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.”

That comment was made after former President Trump claimed on social media and on his campaign website that unsealed court filings showed that FBI agents were ready for Secret Service resistance during the search of his property.

Those documents included an FBI statement on agents’ use of deadly force, which quoted government policy in stating that “law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.”

Judge Cannon in May spurned a previous special counsel request for a gag order, but federal prosecutors filed a second request just days later. They warned that former President Trump’s comments about FBI agents could also affect potential jurors in the case.

“These deceptive and inflammatory claims expose the law enforcement professionals who are involved in this case to unjustified and unacceptable risks: they invite the sort of threats and harassment that have occurred when other participants in legal proceedings against Trump have been targeted by his invective,” Jay Bratt and David Harbach, who work under Mr. Smith, wrote in court papers submitted on May 31.

In the filing, prosecutors listed a series of posts and fundraising emails that were sent out by former President Trump and his campaign, alleging that they contain false and inflammatory allegations. Specifically, they cited posts in which the former president or his campaign stated that federal officials were “authorized to shoot” him or were “locked & loaded.”

Prosecutors didn’t make their request to Judge Cannon on an expedited basis.

Judge Cannon scheduled a June 24 hearing on the gag order request. There is no timeline on when she will rule on the request.

In the case, former President Trump faces 40 federal counts of illegally retaining classified documents after he left the White House in early 2021 and allegedly obstructing attempts by officials to retrieve them. The former president has pleaded not guilty in the classified records case, while arguing that it’s politically motivated and an attempt to imperil his presidential reelection bid in November.

The trial has been indefinitely postponed by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who has made no public indication about a possible trial date.

From The Epoch Times