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Special counsel Jack Smith argues Trump’s push to hold him in contempt in January 6 case is baseless

By Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN

(CNN) — Special counsel Jack Smith pushed back Friday against Donald Trump’s assertions that the prosecutor should be held in contempt for submitting filings while the federal election interference case is paused, calling accusations that he was intentionally violating a court order “false” and “baseless.”

“The Court has held that there is a substantial public interest in the fair and prompt resolution of this case,” prosecutors wrote. “That is why the Government intends to comply with its continuing discovery obligations and to voluntarily satisfy the remaining deadlines in the Pretrial Order” setting a schedule for the criminal case.

“This will position the parties and the Court, if and when the mandate is returned, to resume the pretrial schedule,” they wrote.

Earlier this week, Trump accused the special counsel and prosecutors on his team of operating “lawlessly” by turning over evidence to Trump’s team and filing things such as exhibit lists to the judge overseeing the case.

The former president’s lawyers argued the stay on the case, which Judge Tanya Chutkan put in place while an appeals court decides whether presidential immunity protects him from prosecution, barred Smith from submitting any filings. Because he continued to submit filings, Trump argued, Smith should be forced to explain why he shouldn’t face “monetary sanctions” or be held in contempt.

Smith and Trump have repeatedly sparred over how quickly the case should head to trial, with Trump accusing the special counsel of attempting to rush the proceedings.

Smith has vehemently denied any notion that an earlier trial date is political in nature and has argued that Trump is purposefully trying to delay the case until after the November presidential election.

Trump faces four counts in the case, including conspiring to defraud the United States and to obstruct an official proceeding. The former president has pleaded not guilty.

In their filing Friday, prosecutors also fiercely rejected Trump’s allegation that they were using the stay to “spread political propaganda.”

“The defendant claims that the Government intentionally violated the Court’s stay order, and promoted a political agenda, by fulfilling its continuing discovery obligations and voluntarily complying with otherwise suspended deadlines. That is false,” Smith’s team wrote. “The Government has not violated — and never intentionally would violate — an order of the Court, and the defendant’s recycled allegations of partisanship and prosecutorial misconduct remain baseless.”

As part of their effort to abide by the court order, prosecutors said they had told Chutkan in court filings before the stay that they would continue to meet deadlines – even if those deadlines were paused. In addition, prosecutors said their filings “require no response from the defendant … and thus do not violate the stay order.”

“Nothing here requires any action by the defendant, and he fails to explain how the mere receipt of discovery materials that he is not obligated to review, or the early filing of Government pleadings to which he does not yet need to respond, possibly burdens him,” the special counsel wrote.

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