Sep 6, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump’s social media posts could prejudice jury, prosecutors say

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith addresses reporters after his grand jury has issued more indictments of former President Donald Trump in Washington, DC.

Special counsel Jack Smith addresses reporters on Aug. 1 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Special counsel Jack Smith said in a court filing Tuesday that the "daily" statements made by former President Trump "threaten to prejudice the jury pool" in the case surrounding his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The big picture: Trump's posts on social media have become increasingly intertwined with his legal woes. The judge overseeing Trump's election conspiracy case has explicitly warned him not to make statements that could intimidate witnesses or prejudice potential jurors.

  • "The more a party makes inflammatory statements about this case, which could taint the jury pool … the greater the urgency will be that we proceed to trial quickly," U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan told Trump's lawyers in August.

Zoom in: Prosecutors in Smith's office and the former president's attorneys are at odds on how much of the sealed dispute should be made public in the case.

  • Trump's legal team said that filings should not be posted publicly to the court's docket until they have 14 days to respond.
  • The special counsel's office pushed back against the request, writing in its filing: "Such a requirement would grind litigation in this case to a halt, which is particularly infeasible given the pressing matters before the Court — including the defendant's daily extrajudicial statements that threaten to prejudice the jury pool in this case, as described in the Government's motion."

What's next: Chutkan gave both sides until next week to provide additional filings that she said could be filed under seal.

Go deeper: Trump's new cuffs: Court rules on his social media

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