26th September 2023 – (Washington) Donald Trump’s legal team has filed a response opposing a proposed gag order by prosecutors, arguing that it would violate his constitutional rights and silence him during crucial months of the 2024 presidential campaign. The attorneys, Gregory Singer, John Lauro, and Todd Blanche, submitted a 25-page filing to a federal judge in Washington, D.C., asserting that Trump’s criticisms and attacks on potential witnesses, special counsel Jack Smith, and even Judge Tanya Chutkan are protected by the First Amendment and do not constitute threats or incitements.
The request for a gag order was made by Smith’s team earlier this month, citing Trump’s recent inflammatory remarks targeting potential witnesses in his upcoming trial related to allegations of election interference. They also pointed out his criticisms of prosecutors, Judge Chutkan, and figures like Mike Pence, a crucial witness in the case. Prosecutors are expected to respond to Trump’s filing later this week.
Since the proposal for a gag order became public, Trump has openly criticised Smith for making the request. He has also launched extensive attacks on Mark Milley, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who could potentially be a witness in Trump’s pending federal criminal trials.
Prosecutors have previously argued that Trump’s attacks on Pence and other comments of a threatening nature necessitate a gag order. They have noted that historically, such comments from Trump have led to threats and harassment against potential witnesses. However, Trump’s lawyers contend that these public statements have not deterred witnesses from cooperating with prosecutors or preparing to testify.
Trump’s legal team disputes the notion that his comments could influence potential jurors in Washington, D.C. Instead, they portray his remarks as a necessary response to media coverage of the indictment and Smith’s linking of Trump’s actions to the violence at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The lawyers also point to the heavily Democratic voting patterns in D.C. to argue that Trump’s words are unlikely to sway jurors against the prosecution’s case.
Furthermore, Trump’s attorneys criticise the broad scope of the proposed gag order, arguing that it covers a wide range of statements that Trump or his representatives might make, contrary to the prosecution’s claim that it is a “narrow” restriction.