In a recent legal tug-of-war, lawyers representing former President Donald Trump have blasted the special counsel and his team. They equate their indictment to a politically charged “campaign press release.” The ex-president’s defense specifically spotlighted Smith, the special counsel, accusing him of launching a verbal firestorm against Trump in a previous press conference. During this announcement, Smith had laid out the federal charges against Trump regarding an alleged scheme to hinder the presidential power transition. Trump has entered a plea of not guilty.
Following these allegations, Trump’s legal team fired back, asserting that there was a concerted effort to “poison” Trump’s defense. They expressed outrage over the prosecution’s request to the court, which seeks to muzzle Trump’s First Amendment rights during crucial campaign periods against President Biden. The defense has urged the court to dismiss this apparent manipulation.
Tuesday’s (September 26, 2023) CBC News broadcast highlighted, In the backdrop of these claims, the special counsel approached U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, hoping to restrict Trump’s public comments about the case. Citing a series of posts on the Truth Social platform, the prosecution alleges that Trump is attempting to sway potential jurors and intimidate witnesses through incendiary remarks.
Smith, hoping for a judicious resolution, has requested a specific order that would prevent Trump from making any remarks that could defame or intimidate involved parties. Yet, Trump’s lawyers challenge this proposal’s extent, arguing that it would stifle the ex-president’s right to critique potential witnesses, including Mike Pence, who is currently competing against Trump for the GOP nomination.
The defense found the notion that the court could be influenced by Trump’s social media remarks “preposterous”. They highlighted that no potential witnesses, including notable figures like Pence and ex-Attorney General Bill Barr, have expressed reluctance to testify because of Trump’s statements.
In a sharp retort, Trump’s team remarked, “The aim of the prosecution is to silence Trump during a pivotal campaign phase, all to shield this very prosecution from public criticism.” They have urged Judge Chutkan for a dedicated hearing on this topic. Trump has continued his assault on Smith online, dubbing him as “insane”. He also labeled Chutkan as prejudiced and a “firm supporter of Obama”.
Trump, since being indicted in a federal election case in August, one among four such indictments, has pleaded not guilty on all fronts. He and his team have consistently argued that his actions, particularly concerning the 2020 elections, are safeguarded by the First Amendment.
During a prior hearing, Chutkan acknowledged Trump’s speech rights but indicated that these are not boundless. She underscored the conditions set at his arraignment, emphasizing the non-tolerance for witness intimidation.
Alarmingly, Chutkan has been the target of violent threats, including one instance where a Texan woman was arrested after threatening the judge’s life. This happened right after Trump’s aggressive post, warning, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”