Former President Donald Trump's lawyers are criticizing prosecutors' request for a strict gag order in his 2020 election subversion case in Washington, calling it an effort to “unconstitutionally silence” his political speech.
In court papers filed Monday night, Trump's lawyers are urging U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to reject a proposal to bar the former Republican president from making inflammatory and intimidating comments about witnesses, attorneys and others involved in the criminal case.
Trump's lawyers call the request a "desperate censorship effort" that would prevent him from telling his side of the story at the campaign trial while runs to retake the White House in 2024.
“The prosecution may not like President Trump's completely valid criticism, but neither she nor this Court is the filter for what the public can hear,” his legal team wrote. “If the prosecution wants to avoid criticism for abuse of power, the solution is simple: stop abusing his power. The Constitution does not allow any alternative.”
In seeking the order earlier this month, special counsel Jack Smith's team pointed to what it said is a pattern of "false and inflammatory" statements by Trump about the case, as well as comments intended to intimidate or harass people he believes who are possible witnesses against him. . Prosecutors told the judge that a "narrow and well-defined" order was necessary to preserve the integrity of the case and avoid prejudice to potential jurors.
Trump's lawyers said prosecutors have not shown why such an order would be necessary, saying his social media posts have not intimidated any potential witnesses and there is no real concern that his comments would taint the jury.
Trump's lawyers too They asked the judge to abstain of the case, saying her past public statements about him and his connection to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol call into question whether she can be fair.
There is a high bar for recusal and Smith's team has said that there is no valid basis to remove the judge from the case.