Saturday, 16 September 2023

Special Counsel Asks Judge For ‘Narrow’ Gag Order On Trump After Witnesses Allegedly ‘Harassed’: Report

 Special counsel Jack Smith has asked the federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., to impose a “narrowly tailored” gag order on the former president over concerns that he could make public statements that “present a serious and substantial danger of prejudicing” the case.

“The Government seeks a narrow, well-defined restriction that is targeted at extrajudicial statements that present a serious and substantial danger of materially prejudicing this case,” the filing said. “The Government’s proposed order specifies that such statements would include (a) statements regarding the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses; and (b) statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating.”

Smith’s filing notes that the proposed gag order “is not intended to prohibit quotation or reference to public court records of the case or the defendant’s proclamations of innocence.”

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan stated in a separate filing that witnesses have described to prosecutors the “threats and harassment they received.”


Prosecutors highlighted multiple statements that Trump has made on Truth Social that they argue are examples of him trying to intimidate various individuals connected to the case, including writing in post: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”

Smith’s team also said that Trump has repeatedly spread knowingly false accusations to the public in an attempt to taint the jury pool.

“In his posts on this topic, the defendant repeatedly makes the knowingly false claim that Special Counsel’s Office prosecutors went to the White House in advance of the defendant’s June 2023 indictment for improper reasons,” the filing said. “In fact, as the defendant well knows from the formal FBI FD-302 interview report and agent notes that he received in discovery on June 21, 2023, in the Southern District of Florida case, on March 31, 2023, the Special Counsel’s Office prosecutor conducted a routine investigative interview of a career military official at that official’s duty station—the White House. The defendant’s objective in spreading a knowing lie to the contrary—including by re-posting others’ Truth Social posts naming the prosecutor and repeating the lie—is an attempt to prejudice the public and the venire in advance of trial.”

The filing said that the result of Trump’s repeated posting about the case on social media has been an increase in threats that have been directed at prosecutors and the Court.

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