President Trump strongly condemned Special Counsel “Deranged Jack Smith” for his proposed gag order in response to Trump’s federal election case in Washington, D.C. Trump expressed his displeasure with Smith’s attempt to limit his public statements on social media platform Truth Social, stating, “Biden Prosecutor, Deranged Jack Smith, has asked the Court to limit 45th President, and leading Republican Nominee (by more than 50 points, & beating Dems!) DONALD J. TRUMP’S, PUBLIC STATEMENTS.”
Trump accused Smith of weaponizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against him, labeling him as incompetent. Trump questioned the fairness of the situation, stating, “I am campaigning for President against an incompetent person who has WEAPONIZED the DOJ & FBI to go after his Political Opponent, & I am not allowed to COMMENT? They Leak, Lie, & Sue, & they won’t allow me to SPEAK? How else would I explain that Jack Smith is DERANGED, or Crooked Joe is INCOMPETENT?”
Later that day, Trump further criticized the proposed gag order during speeches given at the Concerned Women for America Summit and the Pray Vote Stand Summit in Washington, D.C. He referred to Smith as “Deranged Jack Smith” and accused him of attempting to take away his rights under the First Amendment, specifically his right to freely express himself. Trump warned his supporters that their enemies were trying to silence them because they were the only ones capable of stopping them.
Smith filed the proposed gag order on September 15, stating that Trump’s repeated public statements attacking the citizens of the District of Columbia, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses posed a threat to the integrity of the proceedings and could prejudice the jury pool. Smith argued that a jury’s verdict should be influenced only by evidence and argument in open court, not by outside influences. He requested that the Court enter a narrowly tailored order to restrict certain prejudicial extrajudicial statements and ensure a fair and impartial trial.
Smith highlighted Trump’s disinformation campaign following the 2020 presidential election, where he spread knowingly false claims of outcome-determinative fraud and his own victory. Smith claimed that Trump was attempting to do the same in this criminal case by undermining confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudicing the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks.
Independent investigative reporter Julie Kelly expressed concerns about the breadth of the proposed gag order, noting that it would prevent Trump from commenting on not just Smith, but also other figures and agencies involved in the case, such as the FBI, DOJ, Bill Barr, and Mike Pence. Kelly criticized the potentially wide-ranging restrictions imposed by the gag order.
Mike Davis, a legal expert, argued that a criminal defendant, particularly one who believes they are the subject of an unjust political prosecution, should have the First Amendment right to criticize the prosecutor, judge, and the process. He deemed a gag order on a defendant as a clear violation of the Constitution and un-American.
The case continues to generate controversy and debate regarding the balance between free speech rights and the integrity of legal proceedings. The outcome of the proposed gag order remains to be seen as the case progresses.