Special Counsel Jack Smith has issued a warning regarding former President Donald Trump’s frequent public comments.
CBS reported on Wednesday, September 6, that according to Smith, the comments pose a risk of contaminating the potential pool of jurors in the criminal case concerning Trump’s alleged efforts to obstruct the transfer of presidential power following the 2020 election.
Smith’s concerns regarding Trump’s public remarks, primarily made on his social media platform Truth Social, were conveyed in a court filing submitted to the federal district court in Washington, D.C.
The filing was part of an ongoing exchange between Trump’s legal team and the Justice Department concerning the request to file a document containing sensitive materials under seal.
Smith and his team have requested that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case, allow the submission of an unredacted motion under seal, along with a redacted version for public access.
In response, Trump’s defense lawyers, Todd Blanche, John Lauro, and Gregory Singer, have opposed this request, citing court rules that grant them 14 days to respond to all motions.
They argue that the court should grant Trump sufficient time to review the government’s filings and proposed sealed exhibits, requesting “reasonable time” for their client.
The special counsel countered Trump’s legal team’s request, contending that it is inconsistent with a protective order issued by Judge Chutkan the previous month and hinders the efficient administration of justice.
They deemed the proposed schedule by the defense unworkable, asserting that such a requirement would significantly impede the litigation in the case.
Smith’s team also highlighted the pressing matters before the court, including Trump’s daily extrajudicial statements that could potentially bias the jury pool.
This is not the first time that concerns have been raised about Trump’s social media comments.
An August 4 filing by the Justice Department referenced a Truth Social post in which Trump wrote, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!”
Trump made this statement after pleading not guilty to four criminal charges in Smith’s case, which are related to alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Smith and federal prosecutors, Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom warned at that time that if Trump were to include details obtained during the discovery process in his posts, it could have a chilling effect on witnesses and potentially harm the fair administration of justice.
Judge Chutkan had previously cautioned Trump’s legal team during a hearing, reminding them of the limitations on what the former president could say.
She pointed out the conditions of his release while awaiting trial, which make it a crime to obstruct a criminal investigation or intimidate witnesses, victims, jurors, informants, or officers of the court.
The judge emphasized that Trump’s defense should take place in the courtroom and not on the internet.
She also indicated that any more “inflammatory” statements about the case would expedite the trial to protect the pool of prospective jurors.
Despite these constraints, Trump has continued to launch online attacks against Special Counsel Jack Smith, Judge Tanya Chutkan, and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
On Tuesday, Trump referred to the special counsel as “deranged” and shared a link to a New York Post article about Judge Chutkan, raising questions about her impartiality.