Prosecutors in classified files case will ask judge to prohibit Trump from commenting on the FBI

Prosecutors in classified files case will ask judge to prohibit Trump from commenting on the FBI
Prosecutors in classified files case will ask judge to prohibit Trump from commenting on the FBI

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — The federal judge presiding over the classified documents trial against Donald Trump was hearing arguments Monday on whether she should bar the former president from making public comments that prosecutors say could jeopardize the life of the FBI agents working on the case.

The arguments follow a turbulent dispute that took place early Monday before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon over an allegation by Trump’s lawyers that the office of special counsel Jack Smith, whose team prosecuted the case, is illegally financed. Smith’s team says it relies on a permanent appropriation that the Justice Department has repeatedly used to fund special prosecutors and that there is nothing improper about the arrangement.

Smith’s team says the restrictions on free speech being discussed Monday are necessary in light of Trump’s false comments that FBI agents who searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in August 2022 in searching for classified documents they wanted to kill him and his family. Trump’s lawyers say any gag order would unduly silence Trump in the heat of a presidential campaign in which he is the presumptive Republican nominee.

Trump’s often inflammatory rhetoric has had legal consequences in other cases. The New York judge presiding over Trump’s trial — where the Republican is accused of paying to silence allegations against him and where he was found guilty of 34 felonies last week — fined him a total of $10,000 for violating a gag order prohibiting him from verbally attacking witnesses and jurors. A federal judge in Washington handling his election subversion case imposed a similar order on him last year that an appeals court later upheld.

It was not immediately clear when Cannon, a Trump appointee whose handling of the case has come under close scrutiny, might rule. The arguments are part of a three-day hearing that began Friday to address several of the many unresolved legal issues that have piled up in a case that was set for trial last month but has been hampered by delays and a clumsy rhythm. Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely, and it is all but guaranteed not to take place before the November presidential election.

 
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