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Special counsel Jack Smith again seeks Trump gag order in classified documents case

By Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand, CNN

(CNN) — Special counsel Jack Smith has once again asked the federal judge overseeing the classified documents case against Donald Trump to impose a gag order against the former president, barring him from making statements about the law enforcement officers who searched his Mar-a-Lago resort.

The gag order request is focused on false or misleading statements Trump has made about the 2022 search of Mar-a-Lago, including that his life was in danger because of a policy in place around the use of deadly force during the search.

Prosecutors say Trump’s comments in recent weeks have “endangered law enforcement officers involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case and threatened the integrity of these proceedings.”

Trump is charged in the case with taking classified national defense documents from the White House after he left office and resisting the government’s attempts to retrieve the materials. He has pleaded not guilty.

The request comes one week after Smith’s initial attempt for a gag order, which Judge Aileen Cannon quickly shot down for procedural reasons, and is almost identical to the original request.

In her ruling earlier this week, Cannon bashed prosecutors for failing to make a sufficient effort to discuss their motion with Trump’s defense attorneys before filing. The judge said prosecutors could refile their motion once that effort had been made properly.

Prosecutors now say they discussed the motion with Trump’s attorneys but failed to resolve the issues.

While Trump has told his supporters he could have been in danger during the search because of the use-of-force policy, the policy is standard protocol for FBI searches and limits how agents may use force in search operations. The same standard FBI policy was used in the searches of President Joe Biden’s homes and offices in a separate classified documents investigation.

Trump, according to prosecutors, has made false claims that have created “a grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement agents—falsely suggesting that they were complicit in a plot to assassinate him—and expose those agents, some of whom will be witnesses at trial, to the risk of threats, violence, and harassment.”

Prosecutors also repeated their concern that Trump’s “deceptive and inflammatory claims” expose agents involved in the case to “unjustified and unacceptable risks,” including threats and harassment.

In a statement from defense attorneys in the prosecutors’ filing, Trump’s lawyers reiterated their stance that the gag order “is a blatant violation of the First Amendment rights of President Trump and the American People, which would in effect allow President Trump’s political opponent to regulate his campaign communications to voters across the country.”

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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