Judge rejects special counsel’s request to prevent Trump from making statements about law enforcement

The federal judge in charge of the classified documents case involving former President Donald Trump has rejected the special counsel’s request to prevent Trump from making statements that could potentially endanger law enforcement.

In their argument, Trump’s lawyers contended that the special counsel had violated Local Rule 88.9, which mandates a “meet and confer” process between both parties before filing motions. This rule aims to ensure the efficient use of the court’s time and the parties involved. Consequently, Trump’s legal team has requested Judge Cannon to dismiss the special counsel’s request and impose sanctions on any prosecutors who were involved in filing their motion.

Judge Aileen Cannon criticized the special counsel’s consultation with Trump’s lawyers, stating that it lacked substance and professional courtesy.

Cannon concurred with the arguments put forth by Trump’s lawyers, stating that the special counsel should not have submitted the motion without engaging in a substantive discussion with the defense, as mandated by the local rules.

The judge warned that failing to adhere to those requirements could lead to sanctions being imposed.

According to Trump’s lawyers, they argue that the Office has blatantly violated Local Rule 88.9 and disregarded warnings from the Court. They are requesting the Court to strike the Motion, find civil contempt against all government attorneys involved in filing the Motion without proper consultation, and impose sanctions. Trump’s legal team insists on holding an evidentiary hearing to shed light on the intent and purpose behind the Office’s willful disregard for required procedures.

Trump’s lead defense attorney, Todd Blanche, had requested a meeting and confer with the special counsel, asking for a delay until Monday. However, the special counsel’s office declined this request, stating that Trump’s public comments had created a situation that could not wait over the weekend to file.

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“We wanted to clarify that we believed it was necessary to quickly request relief due to the situation created by your client. We understand your concerns and informed the court that you do not believe the government has adequately communicated with you,” stated special counsel prosecutor David Harbach in an email to Trump’s legal team.

The special counsel made the request after Trump tried to exploit a recently disclosed piece of evidence in the case. Trump falsely asserts that the evidence proves President Joe Biden had plotted to assassinate him during the search of his Mar-a-Lago club in August 2022.

According to the filings from Smith, the Government is seeking to modify the conditions of release for defendant Donald J. Trump. The purpose of this modification is to explicitly state that he is prohibited from making any statements that could pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

The filing highlights the attack on an FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio, as evidence supporting the request. According to the filing, this attack occurred after Trump made statements that “inflamed his supporters” following the August search.

Last June, Trump entered a plea of not guilty to 37 criminal counts. These charges were related to his handling of classified materials after his tenure at the White House. Prosecutors alleged that he persistently declined to return hundreds of documents containing classified information. These documents encompassed a wide range of sensitive details, including U.S. nuclear secrets and the nation’s defense capabilities. Furthermore, Trump was accused of actively impeding the government’s attempts to retrieve the aforementioned documents.

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