Jack Smith seeks gag order in classified docs case after Trump ‘locked & loaded’ claim

Special counsel Jack Smith in a Friday filing called on the judge overseeing former President Trump’s classified documents case to block Trump from speaking about the case in a way that could endanger law enforcement officials.

In his request, Smith asked the court to impose a condition that would bar Trump from making public statements that could “pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to the law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case.”

“Whether a particular statement meets that test “must be determined by reference to the statement’s full context,” the filing reads. “But that condition would clearly prohibit further statements deceptively claiming that the agents involved in the execution of the search warrant were engaged in an effort to kill him, his family, or Secret Service agents.”

The move comes after the former president falsely claimed in an email Wednesday that President Biden was “locked & loaded and ready to take me out” — twisting language from the terms approved for law enforcement as they prepared to search his Mar-a-Lago residence for classified records in 2022.

In reality, the language only allows for deadly force “when necessary,” such as when someone “poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.”

The prosecutors noted in the filing that the FBI’s search of the Palm Beach resort was done intentionally when Trump and his family were away. And, they added, it was coordinated with the Secret Service, without force.

In their argument, prosecutors said Trump’s false claims could expose law enforcement — some of whom they noted would be witnesses at his trial — to threats of violence or harassment.

“The Government’s request is necessary because of several intentionally false and inflammatory statements recently made by Trump that distort the circumstances under which the Federal Bureau of Investigation planned and executed the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago,” the court documents read.

“Those statements create a grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement agents — falsely suggesting that they were complicit in a plot to assassinate him — and expose those agents, some of whom will be witnesses at trial, to the risk of threats, violence, and harassment,” prosecutors added.

Attorney General Merrick Garland also pushed back on Trump’s accusations Thursday, calling them “extremely dangerous.”

“That allegation is false, and it is extremely dangerous,” Garland said. “The document that has been referred to in the allegation is the Justice Department standard policy, limiting the use of force.”

“As the FBI advises, it is part of the standard operations plan for searches and in fact, it was even used in the consensual search of President Biden’s home,” he added.

The former president is facing 40 charges of mishandling classified documents and obstructing the government’s retrieval of the records after leaving the White House. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

While the case was set to kick off May 20, Judge Aileen Cannon indefinitely postponed the case, punting some court dates into late July while declining to set a trial date. Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, pinned the delay on needing to resolve issues with how the classified documents would be handled at the trial.

Cannon’s move aligns with one of the first requests by Trump’s legal team: To not set a trial date.

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