In the same week as he was fined for violating a gag order in his New York civil fraud trial, Donald Trump faces the prospect of another – this time in relation to his federal election interference indictment.
Special Counsel Jack Smith has accused the former president of trying to “send an unmistakable and threatening message to a foreseeable witness.”
The court filing comes just after it was reported that Trump’s ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows had been granted immunity.
Donald Trump has already been issued a gag order in the Washington D.C. trial by District Judge Tanya Chutkan, but that was lifted last week when the former president’s attorneys appealed.
In addition, Trump has been issued – and breached – other gag orders so far this month.
The Republican frontrunner is seeking to turn his legal campaign to clear his name into a political one to win the election.
He has repeatedly accused judges, court staff and witnesses of being biased against him, believing himself to be the victim of a politically motivated “witch hunt”.
On Tuesday, ABC News reported that Meadows had been issued an immunity grant, having previously testified in the case under court order before the grand jury in March this year. Such grants often see witnesses provide limited statements, for which the Department of Justice do not use against them later on.
Filing documents for the court, attorneys for Smith’s office said a gag order was necessary in the federal election interference case, because the former president “has a demonstrated history of using inflammatory language to target certain individuals in a way that pose[s] a significant and immediate risk that witnesses will be intimidated or otherwise unduly influenced by the prospect of being themselves targeted for harassment or threats; and attorneys, public servants, and other court staff will themselves become targets for threats and harassment.”
Furthermore, Trump, according to the filing, had “capitalized on the court’s administrative stay to, among other prejudicial conduct, send an unmistakable and threatening message to a foreseeable witness in this case.”
Donald Trump’s Response
Gag orders are controversial, as they restrict the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Responding to the latest filing, a Trump spokesperson said: “Wrongful, unethical leaks throughout these Biden witch-hunts only underscore how detrimental these empty cases are to our democracy and system of justice and how vital it is for President Trump’s first amendment rights to not be infringed upon by un-constitutional gag orders.”
The Republican frontrunner, in an angry tirade filled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, responded to the news himself on Truth Social. “I don’t think Mark Meadows would lie about the Rigged and Stollen [sic] 2020 Presidential Election merely for getting IMMUNITY against Prosecution (PERSECUTION!) by Deranged Prosecutor, Jack Smith,” he wrote on his social media platform.
“BUT, when you really think about it, after being hounded like a dog for three years, told you’ll be going to jail for the rest of your life, your money and your family will be forever gone, and we’re not at all interested in exposing those that did the RIGGING – If you say BAD THINGS about that terrible ‘MONSTER’, DONALD J TRUMP, we won’t put you in prison, you can keep your family and your wealth, and, perhaps, if you can make up some really horrible ‘STUFF’ a[b]out him, we may very well erect a statue of you in the middle of our decaying and now very violent Capital, Washington DC.”
“Some people would make that deal, but they are weaklings and cowards, and so bad for the future [of] our Failing Nation. I don’t think that Mark Meadows is one of them, but who really knows?”
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
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