In a filing last week, attorneys for Donald Trump blasted Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request for a gag order in the 2020 election interference case, arguing that the special counsel’s office is violating Trump’s First Amendment rights by seeking to “unlawfully silence” the former president, CBS News reported.
In its response, Trump’s legal team argued that Smith’s request is too broad and could threaten the free speech rights of both the defendant and his attorneys.
Trump’s attorneys also suggested that the request is election interference, claiming that the special counsel is looking to “muzzle” Trump right when he enjoys a slim lead over President Biden in national polling.
In the filing, Trump’s lawyers also claim that the indictment itself reads “like a campaign press release.” The filing also attacks Jack Smith specifically, claiming that in his August press conference announcing the indictment, he launched an “incendiary attack” against the former president, which Trump’s attorneys claim were attempts to “poison” Trump’s defense.
On September 15, the special counsel asked US District Judge Tanya Chutkan to limit what Trump can publicly say about the case.
The 24-page filing cited a series of Truth social posts from Trump which the special counsel said were “inflammatory public statements” in which Trump was seeking to intimidate witnesses and influence potential jurors.
The special counsel asked that the judge issue a “narrowly tailored” gag order preventing Trump from making public statements “regarding the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses,” as well as statements about any witness, attorney, potential jurors, or court personnel “that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating,” the filing said.
However, in their response, Trump’s lawyers argued that the use of the word “disparaging” made the request too broad, noting that one of the possible witnesses is former Vice President Mike Pence who is challenging Trump for the Republican nomination.
The Trump legal team also dismissed the special counsel’s suggestion that the court or prosecutors are intimidated by Trump’s Truth Social posts, calling it “absurd.”