Special Counsel Jack Smith asks court to reinstate Trump gag order in election case

UPI
Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the prosecution of Donald Trump on election interference charges, asked the court to reimpose a gag order on the former president after the former president made more comments disparaging a witness. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the prosecution of Donald Trump in his federal election interference trial, asked the court to reimpose a gag order on the former president for allegedly intimidating witnesses.

Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed the gag order Oct. 16 but then temporarily suspended it at Trump's request as he filed an appeal.

Trump, the leading Republican candidate for president, argued that the gag order prevented him from challenging people who he sees as persecuting him for political reasons.

When the gag order was temporarily lifted, Trump quickly turned to disparaging witness and former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

"I don't think Mark Meadows would lie about the Rigged and Stolen 2020 Presidential Election merely for getting IMMUNITY against Prosecution (PERSECUTION!) by Deranged Prosecutor, Jack Smith," Trump wrote on Truth Social Tuesday.

Smith argued that Trump had threatened Medows after discovering that he had been granted immunity for testimony.

"On October 24, 2023, the defendant took to social media to respond to a news report claiming that his former chief of staff, identified in the indictment, had testified in exchange for a grant of immunity," Smith wrote in his filing Wednesday night.

Smith argued that Trump is making comments that would violate the temporarily lifted gag order if it were still active.

"The defendant has returned to the very sort of targeting that the order prohibits, including attempting to intimidate and influence foreseeable witnesses and commenting on the substance of their testimony," Smith wrote.

Smith questioned why Trump would need to disparage court employees to make the argument that he is being unfairly prosecuted.

"To that end, the court asked defense counsel why, in advancing the claim that his 'prosecution is politically motivated,' it was necessary for the defendant to use 'derogatory labels' and 'highly charged language' such as 'thug' and 'deranged' that, frankly, risk a real possibility of violence," Smith said.

Additionally, Smith said that Trump's behavior was improper and unprecedented.

"There has never been a criminal case in which a court has granted a defendant an unfettered right to try his case in the media, malign the presiding judge as a 'fraud' and a 'hack,' attack the prosecutor as 'deranged' and a 'thug,'' Smith wrote.