Nov 14, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Jack Smith urges reinstatement of Trump gag order in 2020 election case

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

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

Federal prosecutors argued in a Tuesday filing that former President Trump's "long history" of inflammatory speech justifies the restoration of a narrow gag order in the federal 2020 election interference case.

Driving the news: Special counsel Jack Smith's team wrote that Trump "has persistently used social media to make prejudicial comments about the case and its participants."

  • They argue that there has been a "pattern, stretching back years, in which people publicly targeted by the defendant are, as a result of the targeting, subject to harassment, threats, and intimidation."
  • The court filing references a number of Trump's posts on social media that prosecutors argue reinforce the need for the gag order.

Zoom in: Smith's office also said that Trump "has taken advantage of administrative stays to engage in targeting of witnesses, as well as prosecutors and their families."

State of play: The partial gag order is temporarily on hold, after Trump's lawyers had asked the court to lift it, arguing that it had "muzzl[ed] President Trump's core political speech."

  • U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan issued the narrow gag order in October, writing that the former president's statements "pose sufficiently grave threats" to the "integrity" of the court proceedings.
  • Trump's team and prosecutors have repeatedly clashed over the order.

Zoom out: Trump's fiery rhetoric has also become the subject of dispute in other of his legal cases.

What to watch: Chutkan has set oral arguments over the gag order in the 2020 election case for Nov. 20.

Go deeper: Trump's words turn violent as pressure on him builds

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