Trump fights back against Jack Smith’s request for narrow restraining order in January 6 case

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday criticized US prosecutors’ request for a narrow sanctions order that would prevent them from attacking participants in a criminal case accusing them of plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, they claimed. That he should be free to campaign for Republicans. Enrollment in 2024.

After the government request became public on September 15, Trump called special counsel Jack Smith “a deranged individual” who “wants to take away my rights under the First Amendment.” His lawyers struck a more restrained tone in a 25-page court filing in Washington, D.C., writing that the court “should reject this transparent gamesmanship and reject the motion in its entirety.”

“Given the significant First Amendment issues presented by the motion, President Trump respectfully requests the Court to schedule a hearing at the first opportunity,” the filing said.

The response adds to a battle that promises to be a recurring feature of many of Trump’s state and federal criminal cases and that will draw on the challenges facing prosecutors and judges in historic efforts to prosecute a former US president and activist candidate. Sheds light.

On September 5, prosecutors in Smith’s office asked U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan to stop Trump from spreading prejudicial pre-trial publicity. They warned that he was accused of lying, leading to violence after the 2020 election and undermining democracy, and suggested it appeared he was doing it again, this time to the judicial system. Taking aim.

Trump argues that he is a victim of political oppression, claiming that the Constitution should protect his political speech and candidacy.

Prosecutors urged Chutkan to stop Trump from doing three things: attacking participants in the case; Discussing the testimony or credibility of potential witnesses beyond what is said in his or her defense in court or in filings; and surveying District residents in the potential jury pool without prior court approval of questions to prevent the risk of bias.

Prosecutors argued that just as Trump knowingly lied that the 2020 election was stolen to destroy its legitimate results and intimidate election workers and officials, the former president now undermines trust in the judicial system by saying “insults” on an almost daily basis. Trying to reduce. Incendiary attacks about potential jurors, witnesses, prosecutors, and the judge.

The government said jurors serving in the trial of defendants in the Capitol attack in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, already fear being publicly identified and are facing threats and harassment over Trump’s statements .

Senior Assistant Special Counsel Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom also cited the arrest of a Texas woman accused of making death threats against Chutkan and “numerous threats” against Smith. The filing also cites “intimidating communications” involving Jay Bratt, a Justice Department supervisor, who prosecutors said he sent to the White House before Trump’s indictment in Florida in June on charges of mishandling classified documents. Has been repeatedly falsely accused of cheating.

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“The defendant knows that when he publicly attacks individuals and institutions, he inspires others to make threats and harassment against his targets,” Gaston wrote. “The defendant has continued to make these attacks on individuals precisely because he knows that by doing so, he is able to harass the public and incite his supporters.”

But Trump’s defense rejected claims that he was intimidating D.C. citizens, or creating a “substantial likelihood of material prejudice” that would prevent a fair trial by an impartial jury, as barred under court rules. Is. Days after prosecutors sought “limited” sanctions against Trump, his lawyers asked Chutkan to recuse himself from their case, arguing that his own statements about January 6 made them biased against him. made.

Trump himself has gone even further, calling Chutkan “a biased Trump-hating judge” and “a fraud dressed up as a judge in Washington, DC who is a radical Obama hack.”

Trump’s federal election obstruction case is the first in which prosecutors have sought to restrict Trump’s public statements. Although such orders are not unusual in criminal cases, the selection of Washington, D.C., as the forum for the first request indicates that prosecutors are hoping to make it a testing ground for the main constitutional questions at play.

Judges usually keep a close eye on what criminal defendants say before trial, to ensure they do not intimidate witnesses or bias potential jurors. The threat of potential fines or prison time for violating a gag order keeps most defendants in line, but dealing with Trump like other defendants brings home the reality that he is a political candidate, and he has a powerful bully. It is this platform which has made them a formidable front. -Runner for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination.

Trump has pleaded innocent to four pending criminal cases. In addition to the federal cases in D.C. and Florida, Trump faces separate charges in state court in Georgia of attempting to interfere with the election results in that state and of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment to an adult film actress in New York. has been applied. During the 2016 presidential campaign.

But the question of whether Trump is best held accountable by fellow citizens at the ballot box or in the jury box is not limited to his criminal cases, as courts grapple with Trump’s fight to shift their focus from his conduct to his Focus on legal and political. anti.

On Friday, a state judge in Denver issued a protective order limiting statements by Trump and other parties in a lawsuit that seeks to bar him from running for president next year on the grounds that he violates the U.S. Constitution. Are ineligible for office under the 14th. Amendment.

In her order, District Judge Sara B. Wallace prohibited all parties or their attorneys from taking actions that could be considered threatening, intimidating or harassing or that could attempt to coerce or intimidate other parties or witnesses in the case. Is. Their safety.

At issue in the Colorado case is a line of the 14th Amendment, ratified three years after the Civil War, which was meant to bar from office any public official who was “insurrection or rebellion”—aimed at traitorous former Confederates. Had to be prevented from gaining power.

Advocacy groups and individual voters in at least a dozen states have filed or explored filing lawsuits Block Trump from the state’s ballot next year on the grounds that he participated in the insurrection with his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Lawyers on both sides have predicted that the dispute could ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court. Colorado Judge Wallace also set a hearing date for October 30 in the case.

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