Special Counsel Jack Smith doubled down on his request to a federal judge concerning former President Donald Trump’s gag order. He told District Judge Tanya Chutkan that suppressing the Republican’s freedom of speech is still needed.
Smith said it was necessary for the trial in the 2020 election case to be “untainted by harassment, intimidation and threats.”
Chutkan last week temporarily paused the gag order she issued prohibiting Trump from speaking publicly about people surrounding the case. He was even barred from addressing the substantive issues in his indictment.
The judge is considering Trump’s request for a more lengthy stay on the gag order pending appeal.
However, the 32-page Wednesday night filing by prosecutors requested that Chutkan keep the order in place. Smith argued that the 2024 GOP frontrunner will “continue to threaten the integrity of these proceedings and put trial participants at risk” if allowed to speak freely.
In his request for a narrow gag order, Smith referred to statements made by Trump concerning former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The special counsel wrote that social media comments attempted to “influence and intimidate” Meadows.
Here’s the kicker in gag order. It applies to what Jack Smith called “surrogates” in his proposed order. This in effect gags Trump’s campaign spokesmen, advisors, and anyone DOJ/Chutkan views as “others” tied to Trump.
NOT a limited gag order—a contempt trap for Team Trump. pic.twitter.com/JnsLzFxz9e
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) October 17, 2023
According to ABC News, Meadows was granted immunity to testify under oath in the case.
Trump, of course, took notice. “Some people would make that deal, but they are weaklings and cowards, and so bad for the future of our failing nation,” he wrote.
The former president speculated that Meadows was not one of that number before adding, “but who really knows?” This instigated Smith’s rebuttal against Trump and his argument for continuing the gag order.
In the special counsel’s view, Trump posted his comments on social media as a way to intimidate Meadows. Smith said he intended to convey that the former chief of staff “had lied and been coerced” in a clear message before the testimony.
Smith labeled Trump’s postings as “harmful and prejudicial attacks.”
Chutkan initially granted the narrow gag order last week before freezing it until at least Oct. 28. This would allow Trump’s legal team a chance to lay out their reasoning for staying the order throughout his appeal.
The American Civil Liberties Union has come out in support of Trump in his fight to remove the gag order.
The case is set for March, not coincidentally in the middle of the pivotal presidential primary season.