Former President Donald Trump has voiced his opposition to a proposed gag order by special counsel Jack Smith, asserting that such an order would infringe upon his First Amendment rights. The statement came via a social media post on Monday, where Trump expressed his concerns about the potential limitations on his freedom of speech.
The backdrop to this development is a case linked to the events of January 6, 2021, at the Capitol. Trump faces accusations of several felonies related to his objections to the 2020 presidential election results. Special counsel Smith has sought a protective order that would restrict the information Trump can disclose publicly about the case.
In his post, Trump criticized the special counsel, labeling him “deranged.” He further alleged that Smith and the Department of Justice were responsible for unauthorized leaks to the media. One such purported leak mentioned by Trump was a sealed judge’s opinion from March, which claimed that Trump had deliberately misled his own legal team about classified documents discovered at his Mar-a-Lago property.
In a separate development, Trump’s legal team had requested an extension to review the protective order proposed by Smith. However, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, appointed during former President Barack Obama’s tenure, denied this request. Subsequently, Trump called for Judge Chutkan’s recusal and a change in the trial’s venue, expressing doubts about receiving a fair trial in Washington, D.C.
John Lauro, an attorney representing Trump, spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union,” emphasizing the importance of public awareness, especially in the context of the upcoming 2024 presidential election. He stated that the public and the press should be privy to the evidence in the case, provided it isn’t otherwise protected.
The deadline for Trump’s legal team to formally respond to the protective order request was set for 5 p.m. on Monday.