Jack Smith's Team Makes New Request in Mar-a-Lago Case

Prosecutors want Trump barred from making remarks that could endanger law enforcement
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 25, 2024 7:30 AM CDT
Prosecutors Ask Judge for Gag Order in Mar-a-Lago Case
Former President Trump arrives at a campaign rally in the Bronx on Thursday in New York.   (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Federal prosecutors on Friday asked the judge overseeing the classified documents case against Donald Trump to bar the former president from public statements that "pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents" participating in the prosecution. The request to US District Judge Aileen Cannon follows a distorted claim by Trump earlier this week that the FBI agents who searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in August 2022 were "authorized to shoot me" and were "locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger," per the AP. Trump was referring to the disclosure in a court doc that the FBI, during the search, followed a standard use-of-force policy that bars the use of deadly force except when an officer has a reasonable belief that the "subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person."

The Justice Department policy is routine and meant to limit, rather than encourage, the use of force during searches. Prosecutors noted that the search of the Florida property was intentionally conducted when the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and his family were out of state and was coordinated in advance with the US Secret Service. No force was used. Prosecutors on special counsel Jack Smith's team said in court papers late Friday that Trump's statements falsely suggesting that federal agents "were complicit in a plot to assassinate him" expose law enforcement—some of whom prosecutors noted will be called as witnesses at his trial—"to the risk of threats, violence, and harassment."

"Trump's repeated mischaracterization of these facts in widely distributed messages as an attempt to kill him, his family, and Secret Service agents has endangered law enforcement officers involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case and threatened the integrity of these proceedings," prosecutors told Cannon, nominated to the bench by Trump. "A restriction prohibiting future similar statements does not restrict legitimate speech," they said. A Trump campaign spokesman said in a statement Friday that Biden and "his hacks and thugs are obsessed with trying to deprive President Trump and all American voters of their First Amendment rights." Trump has already had restrictions placed on his speech in two of the other criminal cases against him over incendiary comments officials say threaten the integrity of the prosecutions. More here.

(More Mar-a-Lago indictment stories.)

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