Another legal filing in the past 24 hours targets the resumption of Judge Tanya Chutkan’s controversial gag order against Donald Trump. Twice, now, the gag order has been put in place and twice lifted due to administrative stays while Trump appeals the constitutionality of the gag order — and uses it to fundraise like hell. Jack Smith has had enough. He sees Trump’s games with clarity. He knows that Trump now is campaigning to have the Washington, D.C. trial televised so that he can make a circus out of it. This is after his lawyers went on record saying that they would not take a stance at all. So now the question becomes, who will win? Trump or Smith? Politico:
Former President Donald Trump’s renewed attacks on the family of special counsel Jack Smith and his repeated invective against likely witnesses in his Washington, D.C. criminal case warrant the urgent restoration of a gag order against him, prosecutors argued Tuesday. […]
The prosecutors argued that Trump has exploited two temporary suspensions of the gag order to mount some of his most inflammatory attacks on prosecutors and witnesses.
“The defendant here has taken advantage of administrative stays to engage in targeting of witnesses, as well as prosecutors and their families,” Smith’s team wrote in the 67-page filing.
And the prosecutors urged the appeals court panel to reject Trump’s claims that his ability to assail witnesses is protected by the First Amendment. Rather, they said, Trump has knowingly stoked his supporters’ fury, prompting a torrent of threats against judges, witnesses and prosecutors involved in several criminal and civil cases Trump is battling.
“[H]e is implicitly but unmistakably encouraging his supporters … to act against the very people he targets,” the prosecutors wrote.
There’s no question but that Trump wants his MAGA cult to handle matters for him extra judicially. Else how to explain that Trump has repeatedly fundraised off of the gag order, invoked it at political rallies and, then in the interim periods that it was suspended, hurled invective at his targets, most notably General Mark Milley and Trump Enemy No. 1, Mark Meadows. Trump couldn’t get in his digs when the gag order was in place, but the minute he could find a procedural way to halt it for a moment, pow, he went to work defaming and slapping a target on the back of his enemies.
It’s not surprising that Jack Smith is doing this. His name appears religiously in Trump’s social media accounts, wedged between the descriptors “deranged” and “lunatic.” Trump doesn’t fool Jack Smith one bit. Smith sees the big picture, both with respect to the gag order and the request to televise the Washington, D.C. trial.
Prosecutors have repeatedly claimed Trump knowingly provokes violence against his detractors while attempting to maintain deniability about the effect of his words. And in another recent filing — opposing Trump’s call for TV cameras in the federal courtroom where he will stand trial — prosecutors compared the prominence of Trump’s case to three of the most notorious terrorists in American history: 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (None of them got cameras in the courtroom despite the national significance of their trials, DOJ argued). […]
But prosecutors say Trump’s candidacy is no basis to grant him special treatment that would not be afforded to other criminal defendants, who would never have carte blanche to attack prosecutors by name and drum up anger against participants in the case — particularly when there is a long, known history of Trump’s supporters acting on his invective. They also rejected the notion that the targets of Trump’s attacks were not at risk of being intimidated or silenced since many of them are prominent public figures, some of whom have security details.
This issue will be argued orally next week, on November 20. This is an occasion of note, because either: 1. Trump will be silenced and will abide by that silence or, 2. He’ll continue to disparage the people he considers his enemies and in that eventuality, he may find himself behind bars.
Trump believes he’s above the law. Who can blame him, considering how he’s led a criminal life and never been held accountable? But like Icarus, whose wings melted when he flew too close to the sun, Trump turned not only the spotlight onto himself by running for president, again, but also the heat. He would have been able to go to his grave, most probably, without having been brought before a court of law to account for his ways. But now he’s before a number of courts of law. And he’s also having his case tried in the court of public opinion. And things may not turn out the way he intends.