Prosecutors renew bid to gag Trump in classified documents case

by Admin
Prosecutors renew bid to gag Trump in classified documents case

Prosecutors have renewed their request to a federal judge to order Donald Trump to stop making false claims that the FBI was authorized to kill him when it executed a search warrant at his Florida home in August 2022.

The motion Friday from special counsel Jack Smith’s team comes four days after U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon spurned a similar request from prosecutors, using unusually blunt language to fault them for failing to make an adequate effort to resolve the issue with Trump’s lawyers before coming to the judge.

The new motion, filed Friday evening, makes the same central argument: that Trump’s claims about an approval to use deadly force pose a danger to FBI agents who took part in the search or are connected in other ways to the pending criminal case in which Trump is accused of hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence and obstructing an investigation into the subject.

“These deceptive and inflammatory claims expose the law enforcement professionals who are involved in this case to unjustified and unacceptable risks: they invite the sort of threats and harassment that have occurred when other participants in legal proceedings against Trump have been targeted by his invective,” prosecutors Jay Bratt and David Harbach wrote. They also warned that the claims could impact potential jurors in the case, which is not currently set for trial.

In the new filing, the prosecutors list a series of social media posts and political fundraising emails where Trump has made inflammatory and false claims, like “Biden’s DOJ was authorized to shoot me!” and “Joe Biden was locked & loaded and ready to take out me & put my family in danger.”

Trump’s comments appear to have been triggered by language in an FBI operations plan related to the search that described when agents were allowed to use deadly force. However, FBI officials have said that language is included in virtually all such plans and is designed to limit the use of force, not expand it. In addition, they note that agents deliberately chose to execute the warrant when Trump was not at home in order to prevent any confrontation.

Prosecutors asked the judge to change Trump’s release conditions in the case to prohibit him “from making statements posing a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case.”

While the new filling describes prior threats to witnesses and law enforcement in connection with legal matters involving Trump, it does not point to any actual threats received by FBI agents that appear related to his assertions about the raid.

Prosecutors also complied Friday with a request from Cannon, a Trump appointee, that they relay the views of Trump’s defense without editorializing. The end of the motion contains language in which Trump’s attorneys say they oppose the judge issuing a gag order in the case.

“President Trump’s position is that the requested modification is a blatant violation of the First Amendment rights of President Trump and the American People, which would in effect allow President Trump’s political opponent to regulate his campaign communications to voters across the country,” the statement from Trump’s lawyers said.

For the second time, Smith did not request that Cannon consider the request on an expedited basis. Trump is asking for two weeks to respond to the gag order request and asked the judge not to start that time until officials in the court’s probation office determine whether they concur with the prosecutors about the need for a gag order.

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