Gag Order Request Against Trump In Classified Docs Case Rejected

A federal judge refused to grant Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request for a gag order to be placed on former President Donald Trump in his classified documents case.

Siding with defense attorneys, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon threw away Smith’s request for her to modify Trump’s condition of release by ordering him to stop making public statements regarding the case. Prosecutors argued that Trump’s recent statement about the authorization of the FBI to use deadly force in the raid of his Florida Mar-a-Lago estate in 2022 could pose “a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement” involved in the case.

Cannon denied the request citing a “lack of meaningful conferral” with the defense, as she said that prosecutors’ efforts to confer with Trump’s defense was “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy” due to its timing.

“[M]eaningful conferral is not a perfunctory exercise. “Sufficient time needs to be afforded to permit reasonable evaluation of the requested relief by opposing counsel and to allow for adequate follow-up discussion as necessary about the specific factual and legal basis underlying the motion,” the judge said of the gag order request which was filed on Friday leading up to Memorial Day weekend.

The timing had drawn pushback from Trump’s defense, who asked Cannon on Monday to strike the prosecution’s request from the court record and sanction the prosecutors who prepared the notion for violating process by failing to consult the defense before filing their request.

While Cannon did not impose sanctions on the prosecution, she wanted that failure to comply with the court going forward could lead to sanctions.

In Smith’s Friday filing, he wrote, “The law enforcement agents participating in this case conducted the search in an appropriate and professional manner, subject to the Department of Justice’s standard use-of-force policy.”

“Trump’s repeated mischaracterization of these facts in widely distributed messages as an attempt to kill him, his family, and Secret Service agents has endangered law enforcement officers involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case and threatened the integrity of these proceedings. A restriction prohibiting future similar statements does not restrict legitimate speech. Trump’s conditions of release should therefore be modified to prohibit similar communications going forward,” the filing added.

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