Trump Seeks To Deny Prosecutors’ Gag-Order Motion In Documents Case

Judge Hush Money Trial

On Monday, Donald Trump’s lawyers asked a federal judge to reject prosecutors’ request for a gag order limiting what the former president can say about law enforcement officers involved in his sensitive documents case.

Trump’s team also requested that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in Fort Pierce, Florida, impose sanctions and pursue civil contempt findings against “all government attorneys who participated in the decision to file the motion.”

In the documents case, one of four criminal prosecutions against Trump, prosecutors charged him with 40 counts of illegally retaining sensitive national security documents after leaving office. Trump has asserted his right to retain these documents.

On Friday, prosecutors asked Cannon to review Trump’s bail conditions and issue an order preventing him from making statements that pose a danger to law enforcement. Special Counsel Jack Smith argued that this request was necessary due to several “intentionally false and inflammatory statements” Trump recently made about the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida in August 2022.

Trump, the Republican challenger to Democratic President Joe Biden in the upcoming November 5 election, has falsely claimed in fundraising messages that the FBI authorized an assassination attempt. Smith contended that Trump’s mischaracterizations have endangered law enforcement officers and that limiting such comments does not restrict legitimate speech.

In Monday’s filing, Trump’s lawyers, Todd Blanche and Christopher Kise, accused prosecutors of “bad-faith behavior” by rushing to file the request on a Friday night before a holiday weekend. They argued that prosecutors failed to give the defense team sufficient time to discuss the request before filing, violating local court rules. The defense team insisted that this violation should merit sanctions against prosecutors, including possible payment to cover expenses incurred as a result.

Trump’s lawyers also argued that the prosecutors’ request for a gag order unfairly limits Trump’s free speech rights during his election campaign. The court file provided no indication of when Cannon would rule on the motions from each side.

Trump’s criminal trial in New York, involving charges that he falsified business records to cover up a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election, is scheduled to resume on Tuesday with closing arguments. Trump also faces charges in Washington and Georgia over attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden.