Judge Cannon rejects Jack Smith’s gag order request against Trump: ‘Wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy’

News & Politics

United States District Judge Aileen Cannon recently rejected special counsel Jack Smith’s request to place a gag order against former President Donald Trump.

On Friday, Smith’s team asked Cannon to modify Trump’s conditions of release to prohibit him from making “statements that pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of” the classified documents case against Trump.

‘Failure to comply with these requirements may result in sanctions.’

Smith’s team claimed the gag order was “necessary because of several intentionally false and inflammatory statements recently made by Trump that distort the circumstances under which the Federal Bureau of Investigation planned and executed the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.”

Trump is facing 40 felony charges for allegedly maintaining classified documents and obstructing the federal government’s attempts to seize those records. The charges pertain to a raid conducted by the FBI at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in 2022.

Earlier this month, Cannon moved to postpone the trial due to several unresolved pretrial motions. The decision came shortly after Smith’s team admitted that the federal government did not properly maintain the evidence gathered at Trump’s property. His team conceded that some documents were no longer in the same order. The prosecution also admitted that the colored cover sheets that indicated various classification levels were brought in by investigators.

Trump shared posts on Truth Social regarding recently released court filings that stated federal agents who raided Mar-a-Lago were authorized to use deadly force.

Smith’s team claimed Trump’s posts made a “grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement agents” and “falsely suggest[ed] that they were complicit in a plot to assassinate him.”

Trump’s defense team responded to the prosecution’s gag order motion, arguing it “willfully disregard[ed] required procedures.”

“The Government has contacted counsel for defendant Trump, who stated that they object to the Motion and the timing of the conferral on a holiday weekend; it is their position that the Government has not provided an opportunity for meaningful conferral,” Smith’s team wrote in its motion. “They do not believe that there is any imminent danger, and asked to meet and confer next Monday.”

Trump’s attorneys claimed that Smith’s team had demonstrated “bad-faith behavior” by filing the motion just ahead of the holiday weekend.

On Monday morning, Cannon rejected the prosecution’s request and threatened Smith’s team with sanctions.

“[T]he Court finds the Special Counsel’s pro forma ‘conferral’ to be wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy,” Cannonwrote in her decision. “It should go without saying that meaningful conferral is not a perfunctory exercise.”

“Because the filing of the Special Counsel’s Motion did not adhere to these basic requirements, it is due to be denied without prejudice. Any future, non-emergency motion brought in this case — whether on the topic of release conditions or anything else — shall not be filed absent meaningful, timely, and professional conferral,” Cannon continued. “Failure to comply with these requirements may result in sanctions.”

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