Legal Team Requests Restrained Speech from Trump in Federal Election Case Citing ‘Provocative’ Remarks

by Madison Thomas
gag order on Trump

Federal legal authorities are petitioning for a specific court directive aimed at limiting Donald Trump’s capacity to issue “provocative” and “threatening” statements about individuals such as witnesses and attorneys who are part of the criminal charges leveled against the ex-president for alleged manipulation of the 2020 election results.

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith and his team argued in legal filings made on Friday that such a “focused and clearly delineated” directive is indispensable for safeguarding the credibility of the legal proceedings and for preventing the contamination of future jury selections.

Weeks before this, prosecutors had hinted at growing apprehension about Trump’s aggressive commentary; however, the filing on Friday represents the inaugural formal step to curb language deemed to risk compromising the case and instigating anxiety among court personnel and prospective witnesses. The motion delineates a series of what are termed “erroneous and incendiary” comments about the proceedings, as well as utterances designed to menace or disturb individuals Trump views as potential witnesses against him.

Prosecutors have documented that, following the indictment, the defendant has broadcasted an array of statements disparaging the legal system, potential jurors, the court, and residents of the District of Columbia. “The defendant, through these declarations, poses a risk to the uprightness of the legal process and the impartiality of potential jurors,” the prosecutors wrote in the motion.

The authorities noted the already discernible effects of Trump’s language, citing a recent instance where jurors involved in the trial of an individual convicted in the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection expressed apprehensions that Trump might know their identities.

If the court approves the motion, Trump will be obliged to significantly constrict his public comments concerning the case. This comes as he seeks to politically capitalize on his ongoing legal challenges — one of four current prosecutions he faces — especially in light of his 2024 presidential aspirations. Yet, there remains ambiguity concerning what punitive measures could be imposed should Trump breach the directive and how Judge Tanya Chutkan might enforce any such restrained speech order.

Subsequent to the filing, Trump made no gestures to moderate his rhetoric. On the Truth Social platform, he reiterated allegations that the FBI and the Department of Justice have been “politicized.” He maintained that President Joe Biden is “dishonest” and termed Smith “unbalanced.”

Furthermore, Trump’s legal representation has objected to the petition, according to the motion, and a spokesperson for Trump has denounced it as “a patent act of election tampering.”

In addition to the focused directive concerning restrained speech, the prosecutors have also sought a court order prohibiting Trump and his associates from approaching residents of the District of Columbia for purposes such as jury research or polling without judicial consent.

The prosecutors argued that these tactics resemble Trump’s efforts to undermine the 2020 election by falsely claiming victory. “The defendant is using similar strategies to impair public faith in the judicial process by issuing disparaging and provocative commentary,” they indicated.

Prosecutors have cited a number of statements Trump made on his Truth Social platform, including threats and assertions that he is being subjected to a “rigged” judicial process, as further rationale for their motion.

Additionally, the prosecution has countered attempts by the defense to have Judge Chutkan recuse herself from the case, dismissing claims of her bias as lacking substantive grounds.

For further information, follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about gag order on Trump

What is the primary objective of the court directive that federal legal authorities are seeking against Donald Trump?

The primary objective is to limit Donald Trump’s ability to make “provocative” and “threatening” statements about individuals involved in his federal election case. This is aimed at safeguarding the integrity of the legal proceedings and preventing the potential prejudice of future jurors.

Who filed the motion for the court directive and when?

The motion was filed by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith and his team on a Friday. The exact date is not specified in the text.

What kind of impact do prosecutors claim Trump’s statements have already had?

Prosecutors claim that Trump’s statements have already had a discernible impact, specifically mentioning an instance where jurors in another trial expressed concern that Trump might have information about their identities.

What would happen if the court approves the motion?

If the court approves the motion, Donald Trump will be obligated to significantly restrict the nature of his public comments about the ongoing case. Failure to comply could potentially result in punitive measures, although it is not immediately clear what those might be.

How has Donald Trump responded to the motion?

Following the filing of the motion, Donald Trump showed no signs of moderating his rhetoric. He repeated allegations on the Truth Social platform that the FBI and Department of Justice have been “politicized” and labeled President Joe Biden as “dishonest.”

Are there any additional orders that prosecutors are seeking?

Yes, in addition to the gag order, prosecutors have also sought a court directive that would prohibit Donald Trump and his team from contacting residents of the District of Columbia for purposes like jury research or polling without judicial consent.

Have Trump’s lawyers and spokesperson commented on the matter?

Trump’s lawyers have objected to the petition according to the motion, and a spokesperson for Trump has denounced the motion as “a patent act of election tampering.”

Is there any push to have the presiding judge recused from the case?

Yes, the defense has attempted to have Judge Tanya Chutkan recused from the case, citing prior comments they claim cast doubt on her impartiality. However, prosecutors have countered this, stating that there are no valid grounds for her recusal.

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Mike J September 16, 2023 - 5:38 am

Wow, this is big news. Can’t believe they’re actually trying to limit what Trump can say. Isn’t that against free speech or something?

SarahL September 16, 2023 - 9:45 am

This has been a long time coming, I mean how much can one man say without any checks? But again, courts have to be careful to balance rights and responsibilities.

Rick1980 September 16, 2023 - 12:35 pm

The part about jurors already bein concerned is shocking. If true, it shows Trump’s words carry some weight even if he’s not in office.

JennaM September 16, 2023 - 2:21 pm

First amendment issues are tricky. This could set a precedent if it goes through, might affect more than just this case.

Tony_the_Tiger September 16, 2023 - 8:05 pm

Legal team’s making a move, huh? Guess we’ll see how it plays out. Seems like the judge is in a tight spot too.

Clarissa_Q September 16, 2023 - 8:26 pm

This is just a part of the bigger puzzle. Trump faces 4 prosecutions? That’s news to me. Should be an interesting run-up to 2024.


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