Special counsel Jack Smith urged a judge to place limits on what public statements former President Trump can make about his federal prosecution in Washington, D.C., saying he has sought to intimidate prospective witnesses and others involved in the case. Smith said in a court filing Friday that Trump’s social-media posts about the case appeared aimed at undercutting public confidence in the judicial system and intimidating the court, the jury pool, prosecutors and prospective witnesses, reports the Wall Street Journal. Prosecutors characterized Trump’s comments as reminiscent of his claims that he won the 2020 election, in which “the defendant sought to erode public faith in the administration of the election and intimidate individuals who refuted his lies.” Prosecutors said Trump is "attempting to do the same thing in this criminal case—to undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks on the citizens of this District, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses.”
Smith’s team asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to issue a “narrowly tailored order” prohibiting Trump from making “statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating.” The proposed order “is not intended to prohibit quotation or reference to public court records of the case or the defendant’s proclamations of innocence,” the Justice Department said. Last month, Trump’s legal team contested a push by prosecutors to prevent the former president from publicly airing sensitive witness statements or other grand-jury evidence. “In a trial about First Amendment rights, the government seeks to restrict First Amendment rights,” said Trump lawyers Todd Blanche and John Lauro. Not long after the Justice Department’s filing, Trump criticized the special counsel on social media. “They Leak, Lie, & Sue, & they won’t allow me to SPEAK? How else would I explain that Jack Smith is DERANGED,’’ he wrote.