Trump faces gag order after social media threats in election fraud case

Former President Donald Trump may be barred from speaking publicly about the evidence in his election fraud case, after prosecutors requested a gag order citing his social media threats.

Trump faces gag order after social media

Trump posts “witness intimidation” on Truth Social

Trump, who was indicted on four federal charges on Tuesday for allegedly trying to orchestrate a fake electoral college vote scheme to overturn the 2020 election results, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Thursday. However, he also posted a message on his new social media platform, Truth Social, that read: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”

This prompted a swift backlash from critics, who accused him of witness intimidation and chilling free speech. A former spokesperson for Trump, Anthony Scaramucci, called the post “chilling” and said it was “a clear attempt to influence the jury pool and intimidate witnesses.” He also urged the judge to issue a gag order to prevent Trump from further interfering with the case.

Prosecutors seek protective order for evidence

On Friday evening, Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a motion to the federal judge overseeing Trump’s case, asking for a protective order for the evidence, citing Trump’s social media threats. Smith argued that Trump’s case needs a strict order preventing him from mentioning details from discovery documents and evidence in public.

“Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him,” Smith wrote in the filing. “If the defendant were to begin issuing public posts using details — or, for example, grand jury transcripts — obtained in discovery here, it could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case,” he added.

Smith claimed that he had tried to reach an agreement on a protective order with Trump’s legal team, but they had rejected his proposals and offered their own version, which Smith called inadequate. He said that the lack of a protective order had prevented him from supplying documents to the defense as quickly as he wanted.

“The government seeks to provide the defendant with discovery as soon as possible, including certain discovery to which the defendant is not entitled at this stage of the proceedings,” Smith wrote.

Trump’s lawyer accuses prosecutors of “fast-moving railroad”

Trump’s lawyer, John Lauro, criticized Smith’s team for pushing the case forward too quickly and accused them of violating Trump’s due process rights. He said that the prosecution had not provided any evidence to support their charges and that they were trying to silence Trump’s defense.

“This is a fast-moving railroad without any concern for justice,” Lauro said in a media appearance on Thursday. “They want to shut us up. They want to prevent us from telling our side of the story. They want to prevent us from exposing the truth.”

Lauro also said that he would challenge the constitutionality of Smith’s appointment as special counsel, arguing that he had exceeded his authority and that he was biased against Trump.

Trump faces another federal case over classified documents

Trump is also facing another federal case brought by Smith over his alleged mishandling of classified documents. He is accused of disclosing sensitive information to foreign leaders and unauthorized individuals, as well as destroying or altering official records. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.

Smith was appointed as special counsel by former Attorney General Merrick Garland in January 2023, after Congress passed a law authorizing an independent investigation into Trump’s actions related to the 2020 election and national security. Smith is a former federal prosecutor who has handled high-profile cases involving terrorism, espionage, and corruption.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *