Updated Oct 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Jack Smith seeks protections for potential jurors in Trump election case

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump takes the stage to speak on October 9, 2023 in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Former President Trump takes the stage to speak on Oct. 9 in Wolfeboro, N.. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Special counsel Jack Smith is urging the judge overseeing former President Trump's 2020 election interference case to impose protections for potential jurors in the case, according to a Tuesday court filing.

Why it matters: The request comes after Trump last week publicly attacked a law clerk in his New York civil fraud trial, which resulted in a gag order on the former president.

Driving the news: "Given that the defendant—after apparently reviewing opposition research on court staff—chose to use social media to publicly attack a court staffer, there is cause for concern about what he may do with social media research on potential jurors in this case," Smith wrote in the motion.

  • Smith wrote that protections for prospective jurors are necessary for a number of reasons, but "chief among them is the defendant's continued use of social media as a weapon of intimidation in court proceedings."

Zoom in: Smith requested "reasonable and standard restrictions" to limit the ability of parties in the case "to conduct research on potential jurors during jury selection and trial and to use juror research."

  • He also urged strict enforcement of "standard practices in this District designed to shield juror identities from the public."

The big picture: Trump, who has made violent rhetoric and personal attacks central to his political brand, has repeatedly criticized Smith and U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who is overseeing the 2020 election interference case.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional context, as well as details from the court filing.

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