Federally, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team is now seeking restrictions on public comments that may be made by former President Donald Trump in the context of the criminal case that Smith brought against Trump over allegations of what effectively was attempted election meddling.
The restrictions, as proposed by prosecutors, would not be absolute, meaning the former president and active candidate to regain the office could still reference the case’s existence. However, among the categories of commentary that Smith’s team wants to block is rhetoric aimed in a threatening manner at individuals involved in the case. What would be targeted are “(a) statements regarding the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses; and (b) statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating,” per the feds’ filing.
Trump promptly responded in characteristically antagonistic terms as news of the prosecutors’ requests began spreading. He misrepresented the nature of what Smith’s team was seeking, claiming he wouldn’t be allowed to comment — evidently at all — if the request was implemented, which is not accurate. Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney, remarked that the persistently belittling tone in Trump’s remarks amounted to an implicit dare from the former president for the imposition of those sought restrictions. “Trump is now literally daring Judge Chutkan to enter a gag order. So that he can whine about it some more,” the former prosecutor remarked.
Trump has frequently spoken in highly personal terms against political opponents of his — and individuals who’ve been named in conspiracy theories from the former president and his supporters have faced threats to their safety and even lives. Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the former Georgia election workers baselessly accused of participating in imaginary widespread fraud, faced such threats, as have Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and individuals who’ve worked for the election technology company Dominion Voting Systems, among others around the United States.
Trump is now literally daring Judge Chutkan to enter a gag order. So that he can whine about it some more. pic.twitter.com/qtIml4aKev
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) September 15, 2023