Trump Says Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Request Problematic

NEW YORK, USA - Sep 21, 2017: Meeting of the President of the United States Donald Trump with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in New York

The federal judge presiding over Donald Trump’s classified documents case on May 28 rejected the prosecution’s request to bar Trump from making public statements about the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.

Prosecutors from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office had asked US District Judge Aileen Cannon to prevent Trump from repeating his claims that the Biden administration wanted to kill him during the August 2022 search of his Palm Beach estate.

In a May 24 filing, prosecutors said that Trump’s false statements alleging that the FBI agents “were complicit in a plot to assassinate him” could endanger the agents participating in the classified documents case by exposing them to potential harassment and threats.

Trump’s attorneys responded in a May 27 filing, calling the prosecution’s request an unconstitutional restriction on the former president’s speech. The defense noted that the FBI agents involved in the case were subject to a protective order that prevents the public release of their identities.

The Trump legal team said it asked the prosecution on May 24 if the two sides could meet on May 27 to allow the defense time to discuss the matter before the special counsel’s office filed the request with the court.

In her order, Judge Cannon chided the prosecution for failing to give Trump’s legal team adequate time to discuss the request before it was filed on May 24. She warned prosecutors that not complying with court requirements in future filings could lead to sanctions.

Judge Cannon denied the request without prejudice, meaning the prosecution could file the request again.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung responded to the judge’s order saying in a statement that the entire case against Trump “should be thrown out entirely.” Cheung described the case as “a political sham.”

Trump started repeating the claim last month that an unredacted court document proved that the FBI agents who conducted the Mar-a-Lago search were “authorized to shoot me.” Trump said in campaign rallies and social media posts that the agents arrived at his estate “locked and loaded” with plans to “take me out.”

However, Trump’s claim is unfounded. The search warrant simply included the Justice Department’s standard use-of-force policy prohibiting deadly force except if the officers carrying out the search had a reasonable belief that they or others were in imminent danger of serious physical injury or death.

The prosecution noted that the search of Mar-a-Lago was coordinated with the Secret Service and intentionally planned for a time when Trump and his family were not there.