WASHINGTON — Special counsel Jack Smith has filed a request to the federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 case, seeking to prevent the former president from making inflammatory statements that could endanger witnesses and hinder the selection of an impartial jury.
In a Friday filing to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkin, Smith wrote, “The defendant has repeatedly and widely disseminated public statements attacking the citizens of the District of Columbia, the court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses. The defendant knows that when he publicly attacks individuals and institutions, he inspires others to perpetrate threats and harassment against his targets.”
Shortly after the court posted the request, Trump responded with a statement on his Truth Social platform, echoing the same style of statements mentioned in Smith’s filing. He wrote, “I am not allowed to COMMENT? They Leak, Lie, & Sue, & they won’t allow me to SPEAK? How else would I explain that Jack Smith is DERANGED, or Crooked Joe is INCOMPETENT?”
Smith referenced Trump’s Aug. 23 post, following the charging of his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in a separate Georgia case: “THE ELECTION WAS RIGGED & STOLLEN. HOW SAD FOR OUR COUNTRY. MAGA!”
The filing also included an Aug. 5 post in which Trump attacked former Vice President Mike Pence, who had refused to declare him the winner of the 2020 election as Trump demanded. Trump wrote, “He’s delusional, and now he wants to show he’s a tough guy.”
Smith provided examples of witnesses, whose names were redacted, that have faced harassment and threats from Trump supporters. The details suggest that Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, two Atlanta elections workers wrongly accused of fraud by Trump, were among those targeted, as well as Chris Krebs, the former DHS official responsible for election security whom Trump fired after Krebs stated there was no significant fraud.
“The defendant continues these attacks on individuals precisely because he knows that in doing so, he is able to roil the public and marshal and prompt his supporters,” Smith wrote. “As he acknowledged in a televised town hall on May 10, 2023, his supporters listen to him ‘like no one else.'”
Smith also referenced Trump’s post on Aug. 4, the day after his federal court arraignment, in which he wrote: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”
“And he has made good on his threat. Since the indictment in this case, the defendant has spread disparaging and inflammatory public posts on Truth Social on a near-daily basis,” Smith wrote.
Smith also highlighted examples of Trump’s attacks against Judge Chutkin and the special counsel’s office, including Smith himself.
“Put simply, those involved in the criminal justice process who read and hear the defendant’s disparaging and inflammatory messages (from court personnel, to prosecutors, to witnesses, to potential jurors) may reasonably fear that they could be the next targets of the defendant’s attacks,” Smith wrote.
“The government seeks a narrow, well-defined restriction that is targeted at extrajudicial statements that present a serious and substantial danger of materially prejudicing this case,” Smith wrote. He also requested that Judge Chutkin monitor Trump’s attempts to poll the District of Columbia, as such a survey could potentially be designed to sway public opinion in favor of Trump before the trial.
“The defendant’s past conduct, including conduct that has taken place after and as a direct result of the indictment in this case, amply demonstrates the need for this order,” Smith wrote. “As illustrated by the examples discussed above, the defendant’s statements reasonably could have a material impact on the impartiality of the jury pool while simultaneously influencing witness testimony.”
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