Judge Rules On Another Trump Gag Order

In a significant development on Tuesday, Special Counsel Jack Smith's request for a gag order against former President Donald Trump in the classified documents case was turned down by the presiding federal judge in Florida, Aileen Cannon.

Judge Cannon's paperless order emphasized the federal prosecutors’ lack of effort to confer with Trump’s legal team before filing the gag order request, describing their attempt as “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” Although the request was denied without prejudice, meaning Smith’s team can refile, Cannon warned that future attempts must allow adequate discussion time or risk sanctions.

Smith's team sought the gag order last Friday following Trump's provocative comments claiming FBI agents were “authorized to shoot me” and were “locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.” These remarks came in response to revelations that the FBI had permission to use “deadly force” during the 2022 raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, a measure the bureau insists was “standard protocol.”

Prosecutors argued that Trump’s statements falsely implied that law enforcement agents were part of a plot to assassinate him, potentially exposing agents, some of whom are trial witnesses, to threats, violence, and harassment. They requested the court to restrain Trump from making public statements that could endanger agents involved in the case. However, Trump’s lawyers opposed the motion, arguing that there was no imminent danger.

This case is not Trump’s first encounter with gag orders. He is currently facing one in a separate New York hush-money case and was fined thousands of dollars last month for violating that order. Additionally, a gag order was imposed in Smith’s 2020 election interference case against Trump.

Steven Cheung, Trump’s re-election campaign spokesman, condemned Smith's request for a gag order as an attempt to interfere with the 2024 election. He stated, “Hacks and Thugs are obsessed with trying to deprive President Trump and all American voters of their First Amendment rights. Repeated attempts to silence President Trump during the presidential campaign are blatant attempts to interfere in the election.”

Trump continues to assert his innocence across all charges, including in the separate 2020 election interference case in Georgia. So far, only the Manhattan criminal matter has proceeded to trial.

Judge Cannon also postponed the classified documents trial, originally scheduled for May 20, without setting a new date, leaving the timeline for this high-profile case uncertain. As the legal battles continue, the implications for Trump’s campaign and the broader political landscape remain closely watched.

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