Jack Smith makes another request for Trump gag in secret documents case

Special counsel Jack Smith has again asked a Florida federal judge to block Donald Trump from making statements that could harm law enforcement officials in his secret documents case.

Trump has made false claims about the 2022 Mar-a-Lago classified documents search, claiming that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrived at his home prepared to kill him. He had made the same assertion days prior, prompting Mr Smith to file another motion asking US District Judge Aileen Cannon to modify the conditions of Trump’s release.

“Trump’s repeated mischaracterization of these facts in widely distributed messages as an attempt to kill him, his family and Secret Service agents has endangered law enforcement officers involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case and threatened the integrity of these proceedings,” Mr Smith wrote in the filing.

In a fundraising email, Trump’s campaign claimed that President Biden’s campaign was “locked & loaded ready to take me out.”

Jack Smith’s office is asking the judge presiding over Former President Donald Trump’s secret docs case to bar him from making statements endangering FBI agents (Getty Images)
Jack Smith’s office is asking the judge presiding over Former President Donald Trump’s secret docs case to bar him from making statements endangering FBI agents (Getty Images)

Trump was not at his home when the historic raid occurred. Authorities have said that his statements targeted use-of-force policies for the Federal Bureau of Investigation stating that officers are allowed to use lethal force “when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.”

In the filing, Mr Smith said: “Trump, however, has grossly distorted these standard practices by mischaracterizing them as a plan to kill him, his family and US Secret Service agents.

“Those deceptive and inflammatory assertions irresponsibly put a target on the backs of the FBI agents involved in this case, as Trump well knows.”

Mr Smith’s previous motion on the matter was denied on Tuesday, after Judge Cannon found that Mr Smith’s office did not adequately discuss the matter with Trump’s legal team, calling their efforts “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy”.

Prosecutors violated procedure by not consulting with Trump’s defense team before filing the motion. The second time around, Mr Smith’s team included a certificate confirming prosecutors had communicated with Trump’s legal team through a phone call on Wednesday and emails on Thursday and Friday.

Attorneys for the former president asked that the motion include a statement reading Trump “opposes the motion”.

“On the merits, President Trump’s position is that the requested modification is a blatant violation of the First Amendment rights of President Trump and the American People, which would in effect allow President Trump’s political opponent to regulate his campaign communications to voters across the country,” the statement read.

It’s not the first time Trump has been asked to keep quiet.

Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the former president’s financial fraud trial, placed a gag order on him in an effort to stop him from publicly intimidating jurors and witnesses. Trump was fined thousands of dollars after violating the order several times. On Thursday, he was convicted on 34 felony counts in New York of falsifying business records.