pahrump trump

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

In an effort to preserve the fairness of former President Donald Trump’s impending criminal trial for alleged election interference, prosecutors under special counsel Jack Smith are pushing for a partial gag order. They are concerned that Trump’s inflammatory statements and baseless claims may prejudice potential jurors and intimidate witnesses.

Senior assistant special counsels Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom argue that Trump’s extrajudicial comments pose a “substantial likelihood of material prejudice” to the proceedings. They propose a limited gag order that would apply to Trump and all attorneys involved, preventing out-of-court statements that could bias the case. However, it would not restrict Trump from referencing court documents or maintaining his innocence.

This request draws parallels to a prior gag order issued by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in a case involving a Russian agent, Maria Butina. But experts note that this situation is more complex, given uncertainty about Trump’s compliance and potential consequences if he violates the order.

Trump is currently under an informal gag order in a civil fraud trial in New York City after making baseless accusations against court staff. At the upcoming hearing, Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, is expected to oppose any gag order, arguing it’s unconstitutional and that the Justice Department already presented its case last summer.

The central question remains whether Judge Chutkan will restrict Trump’s extrajudicial comments in pursuit of a fair trial or whether Trump’s ongoing statements will continue to challenge the boundaries of the judicial process.