Special counsel Jack Smith’s team argued in a court filing Friday that recent comments made by Donald Trump about now-former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and other public officials reinforced its argument that the former president should be restricted in his remarks about the federal election interference case.
Trump has waged “a sustained campaign of prejudicial public statements regarding witnesses, the Court, the District, and prosecutors” they wrote in a 22-page filing.
The filing highlighted Trump’s comments during an interview this month with NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in which prosecutors said he made “prejudicial statements” about Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr who are both identified as witnesses in the indictment against Trump.
The filing also referred to several posts that appeared on Trump’s Truth Social account this month, including a post last week that took aim at Milley by suggesting that “in times gone by” the general would have been executed for what Trump described as “treasonous” conduct during the period after the 2020 election when Trump attempted to stay in power.
Friday’s filing comes after Smith’s office this month asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the case, for a narrowly tailored order that would bar Trump from making certain extrajudicial statements about the case, in an effort to prevent any public remarks that would likely influence the outcome of trial or prejudice jury selection.
Prosecutors said the Trump’s recent remarks only reinforce the necessity for a targeted gag order.
“The need for the proposed order is further evidenced by a review of the defendant’s prejudicial statements in the weeks since the Government initially filed its motion on September 5,” they wrote.
Earlier on Friday, Chutkan scheduled an Oct. 16 hearing to discuss a potential gag order.
In their filing, the special counsel’s office also cited social media posts that cast doubt over the fairness of Chutkan and prosecutors, as well as a post that took aim at former Vice President Mike Pence, another witness identified in the indictment.
“The defendant is publicly maligning witnesses and very intentionally commenting on the specific topics of their potential testimony at trial,” they wrote. “From the defendant’s statements, potential jurors may form improper views about various witnesses’ reputations, veracity, or what they will say at trial. The Court can and should prevent such improper dissemination of information about the substance of this case.”
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night, but his attorneys said in a court filing this month that prosecutors were attempting to “silence” the former president and deny him his First Amendment rights with their initial request for a gag order.
Trump himself has argued that efforts to limit what he can share publicly are driven by President Joe Biden’s desire to strip him of his First Amendment rights “so that I can’t speak.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism