WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors filed a motion asking the judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump’s indictment on conspiring to overturn the 2020 election charges, for a limited gag order, according to The New York Times.
Special counsel Jack Smith’s team filed the motion Friday, according to The Associated Press. The motion was asking for a “narrow, well-defined” order that will work to “preserve the integrity of the case and to avoid prejudicing potential jurors.”
The limited gag order would restrict Trump from “inflammatory” and “intimidating” comments made about witnesses involved in the case, lawyers and the judge, according to the AP.
“Since the indictment in this case, the defendant has spread disparaging and inflammatory public posts on Truth Social on a near-daily basis regarding the citizens of the District of Columbia, the court, prosecutors and prospective witnesses,” prosecutors wrote, according to the Times.
“Like his previous public disinformation campaign regarding the 2020 presidential election,” they wrote, according to the newspaper, “the defendant’s recent extrajudicial statements are intended to undermine public confidence in an institution — the judicial system — and to undermine confidence in and intimidate individuals — the court, the jury pool, witnesses and prosecutors.”
In all capital letters, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform just days after the indictment, according to the AP. It was one of the statements the prosecutors cited in their motion Friday.
In a statement obtained by the AP, a spokesperson for Trump claimed that prosecutors were “corruptly and cynically continuing to attempt to deprive President Trump of his First Amendment rights.”
“This is nothing more than blatant election interference because President Trump is by far the leading candidate in this race. The American people — the voters — see right through this un-Constitutional charade and will send President Trump back to the White House,” the spokesperson said, according to the AP.
The issue came to light last week and the Justice Department feared that public statements by Trump would possibly taint the jury pool, the AP reported.
The motion that prosecutors filed Friday was reportedly made in “sealed filings,” the Times reported. However, last month in a public hearing, Judge Tanya Chutkan told Trump’s lawyers that she would not tolerate any remarks made by him that could “intimidate witnesses or prejudice potential jurors.”
“I caution you and your client to take special care in your public statements in this case,” Chutkan said, according to the Times. “I will take whatever measures are necessary to protect the integrity of these proceedings.”