DOJ’s Jack Smith Wants Trump Barred From Accusing Biden Of Vendetta In Court

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Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a motion Wednesday morning seeking to bar former President Donald Trump from arguing he was targeted for prosecution by President Joe Biden in his federal election interference case, an argument Trump has repeated throughout his 2024 campaign as the former president’s legal woes continue to mount.

Key Facts

In his motion, Smith argued the federal court should keep Trump from “introducing evidence, making arguments, or framing questions to advance a theory of selective or vindictive prosecution.”

Smith claimed in his motion that through “public statements, filings and argument in hearing before the court,” Trump has “attempted to inject… partisan political attacks and irrelevant and prejudicial issues” in the trial.

Trump—who faces four felony counts over his alleged efforts to overturn President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election—has repeatedly chastised Smith in campaign events and on his social media platform Truth Social, calling Smith a “deranged” and “lowlife prosecutor,” arguing the case amounts to a “witch hunt” and saying the indictments against him “were all thrown up at me” by “my political opponent, Crooked Joe Biden.”

If approved, Smith’s motion would add to the former president’s restrictions on what he can say in the federal case, after a D.C. Appeals Court ordered Trump earlier this month not to make statements on witnesses “concerning their potential participation” in the criminal proceedings or from making public statements about members of the court’s staff, counsel or their families—with the exception of Smith—if they are made “with the intent to materially interfere” with the case.

What To Watch For

Trump’s federal election interference case is on hold, as Trump continues his appeal on the argument he is protected from prosecution through presidential immunity, an argument. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan shot down. Earlier this month, Chutkan, denied Trump’s bid to dismiss the charges, arguing Trump’s presidential term did not give him the “divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens.” That argument could head to the Supreme Court, after Smith argued last week the high court should take up in a bid to skirt a lengthy appeals process. The Supreme Court initially agreed to consider Smith’s request, despite Trump’s plea to allow the appeals process to play out in a “cautious, deliberative manner,” though the Supreme Court last week denied the DOJ’s request to speedily consider whether Trump is immune, without providing an explanation. Trump’s trial in the federal case is set to begin March 4.

Tangent

Trump has faced a slew of gag orders across multiple cases, including in New York, where Trump faced a civil fraud trial over allegations he fraudulently inflated the value of his assets for favorable business deals. A New York court of appeals earlier this month reinstated a gag order in that case, prohibiting Trump and his legal team from making public statements about members of the court staff, after that gag order was temporarily paused late last month. Trump had previously been fined a total of $15,000 for violating that gag order on two occasions, after Trump left a post about Judge Arthur Engoron’s law clerk on his campaign website and after Trump lambasted to reporters about a “partisan” person sitting next to the judge, appearing to reference Engoron’s clerk.

Further Reading

Trump Gag Orders: Here’s Everything The Ex-President Can’t Say In The Cases Against Him—As D.C. Appeals Court Reimposes Order (Forbes)

DOJ’s Jack Smith Further Presses Supreme Court For Fast Decision On Trump Immunity (Forbes)

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DOJ’s Jack Smith Wants Trump Barred From Accusing Biden Of Vendetta In Court

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