Trump attacks an attempt to issue a partial ban in the election case: “They want to silence me”


Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a South Dakota Republican Party rally in Rapid City, South Dakota, US on September 8, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump on Friday attacked special counsel Jack Smith as a “dysfunctional” prosecutor after his office sought to impose restrictions on what the former president can say on the issue of federal election interference.

“He’s a deranged person,” he said of Smith, who led two federal investigations into Trump that resulted in criminal indictments.

Trump, the leading Republican candidate for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination, claimed in a speech on Friday evening that Smith “wants to take away my First Amendment rights.”

Trump said at a conference of a conservative Christian women’s organization in Washington, D.C., that he “wants to take away my right to speak freely and frankly.”

Trump has previously attacked Smith in similar terms, but his latest attack came hours after Smith asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to issue a partial gag order in the D.C. election case.

Trump was charged with four felony counts in that case, which alleges he committed multiple conspiracies to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

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Trump’s repeated attacks on the court, prosecutors, potential witnesses and D.C. citizens threaten to “undermine the integrity of these proceedings and prejudice the jury pool,” Smith wrote in a lawsuit.

The special counsel said he seeks “narrow, well-defined restrictions” on “certain harmful extrajudicial statements.”

These statements would include statements about “the identity, testimony, or credibility of potential witnesses,” as well as “statements about any party, witness, attorney, court employee, or potential juror that disparages, inflammatory, or intimidates,” Smith wrote.

“They want to silence me because I will never let them silence you,” Trump told the crowd in D.C.

Smith’s motion cites several social media posts from Trump’s Truth Social account attacking Chutkan, prosecutors, and the D.C. city itself. The filing also accused Trump of spreading “intentionally false accusations of misconduct” against a prosecutor in the special counsel’s office working on Trump’s other federal criminal case in Florida.

Trump claimed that the attorney general went to the White House for “improper reasons” before indicting Trump in that case, which centers on his retention of secret national defense records after he was no longer president.

But “as the defendant well knows,” Smith wrote, the prosecutor “conducted a routine investigative interview with a career military official at that official’s duty station — the White House,” calling Trump’s claim otherwise “an attempt to bias the public and reality.” “Before the trial.”

The judge has not yet ruled on Smith’s request, which if granted could prevent Trump from disparaging the special counsel himself.

The speech was the first of two speeches Trump was scheduled to deliver in D.C. on Friday evening. He began speaking at the first event, a gathering of the Legislative Action Committee on Women for America, about 40 minutes after the scheduled start time of 7:15 p.m. ET, likely delaying his second appearance at the Family Research Council’s annual summit, another event . Conservative religious group.

This trip was the first time Trump returned to the nation’s capital since early last month, when he appeared before the US court of E. Barrett Prettyman to plead not guilty in the federal election case.

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