After recent social media remarks criticizing the former president’s chief of staff, federal prosecutors are asking a judge to reinstate a gag order against Donald Trump, claiming that these posts constitute an attempt to influence and intimidate a likely witness in the case.
Last week, Judge Chutkan suspended her order prohibiting Trump from making derogatory remarks about court officials, prosecutors, and potential witnesses in the criminal case alleging Trump was trying to change the results of the 2020 election. The stay was temporary. The verdict came while Trump’s legal team appealed the lower court’s limited gag order.
On Wednesday night, the office of special counsel Jack Smith submitted a motion urging Chutkan to reinstate the previous limits. ABC Press reported on Tuesday that Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had testified before a grand jury on Tuesday after gaining immunity from prosecution, and prosecutors referenced comments Trump made about Meadows on social media and at a press conference over the last day.
A key White House supporter of Trump’s, Meadows was also accused in a separate state prosecution in Georgia relating to efforts to overturn the election, and the former president has speculated on social media that he may testify against Trump in exchange for immunity from prosecution from Smith. “Some individuals might make that deal, but they are weaklings and cowards and so horrible for the future of our Failing Nation,” reads part of the message.
The post regarding Meadows was used as an example of the kind of remark that the original gag order was supposed to prohibit by Smith’s team in their move to get the limitations reinstalled.
Prosecutors claimed Trump took advantage of the stay. They said the defendant’s (Trump) public communication addressed the Chief of Staff with the expectation that it would reach him and is a willful attempt to circumvent the terms of his release.
Smith’s team also requested that Chutkan add compliance with the gag order as a condition of Trump’s pretrial release or barring communication with witnesses about the facts of the case. They said this should include subtle messages to witnesses in speeches or social media.