U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith is seeking to impose restrictions on former President Donald Trump’s public statements related to a Washington, D.C. court case concerning his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, as per a court filing released on Friday.
In the filing submitted to the U.S. District Court, Smith expressed concerns about Trump’s pattern of issuing inflammatory statements targeting individuals or institutions that pose challenges to him.
He argued that these statements could potentially intimidate prospective jurors and lead to threats and harassment. As a result, Smith is requesting Judge Tanya Chutkan to place “narrow” limitations on Trump’s out-of-court statements.
Specifically, prosecutors are seeking to restrict Trump from commenting on potential witnesses’ identity, testimony, or credibility. They also aim to curtail disparaging and inflammatory remarks about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors.
In response to the request, a spokesperson for Trump labeled it as “blatant election interference,” emphasizing Trump’s status as the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump is facing four felony charges related to alleged efforts to undermine the 2020 election results and has pleaded not guilty to all of them.
Judge Chutkan had previously cautioned Trump against making statements that could influence witnesses or prejudice the jury pool. Additionally, as part of his release conditions, Trump agreed not to issue threats against anyone involved in the case.
Earlier in the week, Trump filed a motion requesting Chutkan’s recusal from the case, citing her past statements about defendants in previous January 6 cases as evidence of bias.
Chutkan had previously set a trial date of March 4 for the federal case in Washington, just before “Super Tuesday,” a critical day in the Republican presidential race, where numerous states hold their nominating contests. Polls indicate that Trump enjoys a substantial lead over his rivals in the race.