Judge blocks Jack Smith’s request for gag order against Donald Trump in classified documents case

Jack Smith requested a gag order against Mr Trump to limit his comments about officers who searched Mar-a-Lago

Katie Hawkinson
Tuesday 28 May 2024 17:25 BST
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Donald Trump walks into his hush money trial on 28 May. The federal judge in his classified documents case denied a request by Special Counsel Jack Smith to place a gag order on the former president
Donald Trump walks into his hush money trial on 28 May. The federal judge in his classified documents case denied a request by Special Counsel Jack Smith to place a gag order on the former president (Getty Images)

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A judge blocked Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request to bar Donald Trump from making statements that could pose a threat to law enforcement in his classified documents case.

Federal Judge Aileen Cannon wrote that Mr Smith’s motion was “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy,” as it didn’t give Trump’s defense team enough time to respond. Mr Smith made the request on Friday, asking the judge to limit the comments Mr Trump could make about the law enforcement officers who searched his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Last week, Trump trotted out an outrageous claim that FBI aents were “authorized to shoot me” while searching Mar-a-Lago.

The former president’s defense team had decried Mr Smith’s now-denied motion, arguing it was an “extraordinary, unprecedented, and unconstitutional censorship application.”

On Monday, defense attorney Chris Kise asked Judge Cannon to hold “all government attorneys who participated in the decision to file the motion” in civil contempt and impose sanctions after an evidentiary hearing.

The former president faces allegations that he illegally retained national defense information, that he took part in a conspiracy to obstruct justice and that he made false statements.

Donald Trump walks into his hush money trial on 28 May. The federal judge in his classified documents case denied a request by Special Counsel Jack Smith to place a gag order on the former president
Donald Trump walks into his hush money trial on 28 May. The federal judge in his classified documents case denied a request by Special Counsel Jack Smith to place a gag order on the former president (Getty Images)

Prosecutors allege that he kept secret files in unsecured parts of his Mar-a-Lago home and worked to obstruct authorities trying to get them back. The files included secret documents from the Pentagon, the National Security Agency and the CIA.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial was initially scheduled to begin this month. However, Judge Cannon indefinitely postponed the trial on 7 May, noting the original date didn’t work because of the number of remaining pre-trial motions.

A hearing in the case last week devolved into a shouting match as each side fought over claims of an alleged threat against a defense attorney.

Meanwhile, the former president’s hush money trial in New York City is coming to an end this week. The jury could begin deliberations as soon as Wednesday to determine if they will convict Mr Trump on charges of falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 payment made to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016.

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