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US judge asked to place gag order on Trump in poll meddling case


Washington, Sep 16
Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the federal election meddling case against former US President Donald Trump, has asked District Judge Tanya Chutkan to place him under a gag order, limiting on what he can publicly comment .

The request was among a slew of older court documents from the case that were released on Friday, reports the BBC.

Prosecutors have said that their proposed order -- which they never refer to as a "gag order" -- is "a narrow, well defined restriction" that is necessary to prevent disinformation, threats and "prejudicing" the case.

If approved, it would ban Trump from making statements "regarding the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses" and "statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating".

“The defendant is now attempting to do the same thing in this criminal case — to undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks on the citizens of this District, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses,” the prosecutors wrote in their filing.

Chutkan, an Obama appointee overseeing the criminal case in Washington, D.C., is yet to make a decision on the request, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, Trump on Friday blasted the special counsel’s motion in a Truth Social post on Friday, calling Smith “deranged”.

"So, I'm campaigning for President against an incompetent person who has WEAPONIZED the DOJ & FBI to go after his Political Opponent, & I am not allowed to COMMENT? They Leak, Lie, & Sue, & they won't allow me to SPEAK?

Addressing a dinner for the group Concerned Women for America in the capital on Friday night, he said prosecutors wanted to take away his right to speak freely and openly, reports the BBC.

“Did you see today that deranged Jack Smith … wants to take away my rights under the First Amendment, wants to take away my right of speaking freely and openly?” Trump said.

"These people are sick and they want to silence me because I will never let them silence you... But in the end they're not after me, they're after you, and I just happen to be standing in their way," he told the group of around 300 socially conservative evangelical Christian women.

Trump, the current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, faces mounting legal troubles.

He has been criminally indicted four times, including in this federal investigation into efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election.