The legal team representing former President Donald Trump is pushing back on the request from the Department of Justice that a gag order be put in place over his upcoming prosecution.
In response to the request from the DOJ, Trump’s legal team issued a brief of 25 pages. They cited both the necessity of transparency as well as freedom of speech for why the gag order shouldn’t be put in place.
As the brief reads:
“The prosecution would silence President Trump, amid a political campaign where his right to criticize the government is at its zenith, all to avoid a public rebuke of this prosecution. However, ‘above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter or its content.’
“The prosecution may not like President Trump’s entirely valid criticism, but neither it nor this Court are the filter for what the public may hear.”
Trump’s brief disputes the claims that prosecutors in the case have made that the history of inflammatory comments that Trump has made about some of his political opponents ultimately threatens their legal proceedings against him.
The team led by special counsel Jack Smith wants to restrict Trump’s ability to publicly comment on the case against him. They have said that his antagonistic and fiery rhetoric could result in the perceptions of jurors being affected.
As the prosecutors have stated in the past:
“The defendant knows that when he publicly attacks individuals and institutions, he inspires others to perpetuate threats and harassment against his targets.”
In this case, and in many others brought against him, Trump continues to cite the Constitution to defend his actions and his position.
On Monday, Trump said that the Constitution provides him with protections to appear on 2024 presidential primary ballots, as some Democrats are seeking to ban him from appearing on them – as a way to prevent him from winning the White House again.
Several states are seeing concerted efforts by some groups to remove Trump’s name from the ballot, which would make it much tougher for him to actually win the GOP nomination and, thus, the presidency.
Those groups are saying that Trump’s actions in January 2021 amounted to insurrection against the United States, which would ban him from holding political office in the future.
But, Trump’s legal teams have all argued that statements their client made in regard to the 2020 presidential election are all protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment.
In a court filing in Colorado on Monday, Geoffrey Blue, one of Trump’s attorneys, wrote:
“At no time do Petitioners argue that President Trump did anything other than engage in either speaking or refusing to speak for their argument that he engaged in the purported insurrection.”
Those claims have been very hard for Trump’s challengers to overcome, since no one has been able to prove that he committed any crime in relation to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to this point.