Special Counsel Jack Smith’s latest “narrowly tailored” move against former President Donald Trump appeared to take a swipe at the First Amendment and could impact the future on the campaign trail.
A Friday filing on behalf of the government formally requested a long-anticipated gag order against the president with regard to the federal charges brought against him in that Jan. 6, 2021 case.
Directed at United States District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, the presiding judge in the Washington, D.C. case, Smith referenced a number of statements from Trump, including those posted to Truth Social, as he voiced concern over the potential of “prejudicial outside interference” impacting the jury.
“In service of his criminal conspiracies, through false public statement, the defendant sought to erode public faith in the administration of the election and intimidate individuals who refuted his lies,” claimed Smith with reference to allegations in this indictment of the former president.
“The defendant is now attempting to do the same thing in this criminal case–to undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks on the citizens of this District, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses,” Smith continued. “The defendant’s conduct presents a ‘substantial likelihood of material prejudice’ to these proceedings, and the Court can and should take steps to restrict such harmful extrajudicial statements.”
The special counsel spoke to comments made by Trump from the date of the 2020 presidential election through the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and asserted the president had “trained his focus on the election system, including election officials and other individuals carrying out civic duties to implement fair elections in various states.”
“As a result, the defendant engendered widespread mistrust in the administration of the election, and the individuals whom he targeted were subject to threats and harassment,” the prosecutor further charged.
Reacting to the attempt to hamper his First Amendment rights, Trump, who had pled “not guilty” to the federal charges brought in the D.C. case, blasted the proposed gag order on Truth Social Friday.
“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,” he wrote. “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? 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?”
While the prosecution’s concerns over potential prejudices appeared wholly one-sided, lacking regard for consistently unfavorable reporting from corporate media against Trump and the reality that the jurisdiction of the case was one in which the vast majority had voted against the president, many chose to focus on the potential that the order would likely not be as narrow as advertised.
Commentator Julie Kelly remarked on X, “Despite Jack Smith’s claims he wants a ‘narrow’ gag order, this would prevent Trump from posting/saying anything about Smith, Chutkan, DC jury pool, the FBI, the DOJ in general, [former Attorney General] Bill Barr, [former Vice President] Mike Pence, and a host of other figures/agencies.”
Despite Jack Smith’s claims he wants a “narrow” gag order, this would prevent Trump from posting/saying anything about Smith, Chutkan, DC jury pool, the FBI, the DOJ in general, Bill Barr, Mike Pence, and a host of other figures/agencies. https://t.co/ff9mKJpY0z
— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) September 15, 2023
Earlier this year, Trump had been warned about commenting on the case brought against him in New York, but Judge Juan Merchan had initially declined to issue a gag order.
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