Trump's Legal Team Battles Gag Order in Classified Documents Case

Trump's legal team fights back against proposed restrictions.

by Nouman Rasool
Trump's Legal Team Battles Gag Order in Classified Documents Case
© Justin Lane - Pool/Getty Images

In a significant legal maneuver, former President Donald Trump’s attorneys urged a federal judge on Monday to dismiss the special counsel Jack Smith’s plea for a gag order in the ongoing classified documents case, while also seeking contempt charges against the federal prosecutors involved.

The case, overseen by Florida Judge Aileen Cannon, has garnered widespread attention, particularly regarding the limitations it proposes on Trump’s public discussions concerning the law enforcement activities at his Mar-a-Lago estate in 2022.

Trump, believed to be the front-running Republican candidate for the presidency in 2016, has consistently denounced FBI policies in their treatment of such things as how they make use of deadly force on searches-the former standard fare.

The request for a gag order, his lawyers argued, was an "unprecedented, extraordinary, and unconstitutional" effort to limit Trump's speech during the presidential campaign.

Defense Slams Gag Proposal

In a recent filing, the defense team strongly objects to what they consider an unconstitutional limitation that the special counsel is seeking to impose upon Trump.

They argue that the request is based on "vague and unsupported assertions" about potential threats to unnamed law enforcement personnel already protected under a court order. They labeled the prosecutors as "self-appointed Thought Police," accusing them of conditioning Trump’s freedom on his acquiescence to their views.

Particularly contentious is the proposal to integrate the gag order with Trump’s pre-trial release conditions, effectively placing enforcement in the hands of a probation officer rather than the judge. Trump’s legal team contends this could lead to the imprisonment of a political rival under ambiguous circumstances, potentially influencing the political landscape.

Furthermore, the defense insists that Judge Cannon should sanction all involved government attorneys for their roles in advocating for the gag order. This action underscores the intense legal skirmish between Trump’s legal team and the federal prosecutors.

Simultaneously, Trump faces a gag order in another case concerning federal election interference in Washington, D.C., and a separate hush money trial in New York. The special counsel has highlighted Trump's public statements, which allegedly pose risks to law enforcement personnel, some of whom might testify in the classified documents trial.

These comments have reportedly led to threats and harassment against legal proceedings participants previously targeted by Trump's rhetoric.