(WASHINGTON) — Special counsel Jack Smith and his team have requested a federal judge in Washington, D.C., impose a “narrowly tailored” order restricting former President Donald Trump from making public statements that they argue could “present a serious and substantial danger of prejudicing” his 2020 federal election interference case.
In an extraordinary filing, Smith’s office accused Trump of engaging in a sweeping campaign of “disinformation” and harassment intended to intimidate witnesses, prosecutors and others involved in the prosecution he is facing.
“Like his previous public disinformation campaign regarding the 2020 presidential election, 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,” the filing says.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called “fake electors,” using the Justice Department to conduct “sham election crime investigations,” trying to enlist the vice president to “alter the election results,” and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged — all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.
Prosecutors say their proposed order to D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan would be “a narrow, well-defined restriction” that would prohibit Trump from making statements “regarding the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses” and “statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating.”
The order would not prohibit Trump from quoting or referencing public court records or making proclamations of innocence, prosecutors say.
But if implemented by Judge Chutkan, such an order would likely set off a high-stakes legal battle, with Trump — who is currently the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential primary — expected to argue that his First Amendment rights are being violated.
It’s unclear when Judge Chutkan might rule on the government’s motion.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and denounced the election interference charges as “a persecution of a political opponent.” A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
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