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Special counsel Jack Smith of the Justice Department (DOJ) intensified his plea on Friday for a gag order to restrain former President Trump from making certain public remarks, particularly after posts that prosecutors argue threatened witnesses in his criminal trials.
Prosecutors clarified their concerns in a Friday filing, emphasizing that Trump “should not be permitted to continue to try this case in the court of public opinion.” They pinpointed specific posts from Trump on Truth Social, where he made accusations against Judge Tanya Chutkan, former Vice President Mike Pence, and the recently retired Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Mark Milley.
Trump’s call for Milley’s execution was highlighted, with the filing stating, “No other criminal defendant would be permitted to issue public statements insinuating that a known witness in his case should be executed.” Trump’s references to seeking “retribution” against political adversaries were also noted, fueling concerns from prosecutors over possible witness intimidation and potential influence on jury pools. Additionally, the document addressed Trump’s recent visit to a South Carolina gun store, questioning the legality of a possible firearm purchase.
In response, Trump has criticized the proposed partial gag order, viewing it as an infringement on his First Amendment rights. Judge Chutkan is set to deliver a ruling on the gag order motion in an upcoming October 16 hearing.