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January 1, Judge Denies Gag Order on Trump, Defense Slams Unconstitutional Censorship



A federal judge has denied Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request for a gag order on former President Donald Trump in his classified documents case. Trump’s defense attorneys had called the request “unconstitutional censorship.”

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon found that Smith’s prosecutors failed to properly confer with Trump’s lawyers before filing the motion, violating court rules. The judge said prosecutors did not give Trump’s team “sufficient time” to review their motion, filed on Memorial Day weekend.

“Because the filing of the Special Counsel’s motion did not adhere to these basic requirements, it is due to be denied without prejudice,” the judge said.

Trump’s attorneys accused the government of “unconstitutional censorship” in response to federal prosecutors’ request for a gag order. They asked a federal judge in Florida to sanction and fine prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s office.

The defense attorneys requested that the court “strike the Motion, make civil contempt findings as to all government attorneys who participated in the decision to file the Motion without meaningful conferral, and impose sanctions after holding an evidentiary hearing.”

Smith’s team had filed a motion to U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, requesting that she prohibit Trump from making statements that “pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case.”

Trump had claimed in a campaign appeal that FBI agents were “locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.”

Prosecutors said Trump’s “grossly misleading” claims cited a standard FBI form, but he distorted the inclusion of the policy limiting the use of deadly force.

They argued that Trump’s “deceptive and inflammatory claims” exposed federal agents to “unjustified and unacceptable risks,” inviting “threats and harassment” against investigators.

Trump’s attorneys countered that Smith’s request was an “extraordinary, unprecedented and unconstitutional censorship application.”

They requested that Judge Cannon hold a hearing to determine Smith’s “motives and purpose” in filing the gag order motion, pointing out that Trump’s defense summation is scheduled to begin in Manhattan on Tuesday for his New York criminal case.

The defense attorneys referred to Smith and his team as “the Thought Police,” accusing prosecutors of being “biased and reckless” and “driven by political animus against President Trump.”

Trump has claimed the indictment filed against him last June was part of a politically-motivated “witch hunt.” Smith’s team has denied the allegations and asserted their motives are to support the rule of law.

Trump is accused of keeping classified documents at his estate after leaving the White House in 2021 and obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them. He has pleaded not guilty. The case is not expected to go to trial until after the November election.

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