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Trump attorneys ask judge to reject gag order request in classified documents case and find prosecutors in contempt

<i>Spencer Platt/Getty Images/File via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Former President Donald Trump holds a rally in the historically Democratic district of the South Bronx on May 23
Spencer Platt/Getty Images/File via CNN Newsource
Former President Donald Trump holds a rally in the historically Democratic district of the South Bronx on May 23

By Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand, CNN

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys asked a federal judge Monday to reject special counsel Jack Smith’s request for a gag order in the classified documents case and to find the federal prosecutors who wrote the request in contempt.

Smith’s office has requested that the Florida judge overseeing the classified documents case, Aileen Cannon, place a gag order on the former president that would limit his ability to publicly talk about law enforcement that searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in 2022.

Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, has repeatedly and misleadingly criticized the FBI for having a policy in place around the use of deadly force during the search – as the bureau does with every warrant it executes.

In a blistering court filing late on Memorial Day, attorneys for Trump said that the gag order request was an “extraordinary, unprecedented, and unconstitutional censorship application” to target Trump’s speech as he runs for president.

The special counsel “improperly asks the Court to impose an unconstitutional gag order on President Trump … based on vague and unsupported assertions about threats to law enforcement personnel whose names have been redacted from public filings and whose identities are already subject to a protective order,” defense attorneys wrote.

The attorneys also said that prosecutors, whom they referred to as “self-appointed Thought Police,” were “seeking to condition President Trump’s liberty on his compliance” with their own views.

Among the parts of the proposed gag order that Trump’s attorneys most fiercely contested was Smith’s request to incorporate the gag order into the former president’s conditions of pre-trial release – meaning that a probation officer, not the judge, would decide whether Trump’s comments constituted a violation. That structure would “require the Probation Office and the Court to mediate disputes against a backdrop of potentially imprisoning a political opponent who is successfully defeating Smith’s boss and preferred candidate,” they wrote.

Beyond rejecting the gag order request, Cannon should impose sanctions on “all government attorneys who participated in the decision to file the Motion,” Trump’s team said.

The former president is separately under a gag order in the Washington, DC, federal election interference case and in his ongoinng hush money trial in New York state court.

The special counsel said Friday that Trump’s false claims had endangered law enforcement officers – some of whom could testify in the classified documents case. His comments, prosecutors wrote, “invite the sort of threats and harassment that have occurred when other participants in legal proceedings against Trump have been targeted by his invective.”

Both the FBI and Attorney General Merrick Garland have rejected claims that the operation’s plan to search Mar-a-Lago was somehow unique and that Trump’s life, as the former president has claimed, was in danger. Garland last week called the allegation “false” and “extremely dangerous,” while the FBI said in a statement that “no one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter.”

Garland and the FBI have also noted that the same deadly force policy was included in plans before a search of President Joe Biden’s Delaware home during a separate investigation into his own handling of classified documents.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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