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Ben Weingarten

Federalist Senior Contributor; Claremont Institute Fellow

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Opinion

Proposed gag order against Trump a blatant political attack

Oct 03, 2023

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Special counsel Jack Smith has submitted a proposed narrow gag order aimed at former President Donald Trump in the case, accusing him of attempting to overturn the 2020 election. This gag order would prohibit Trump from making “extrajudicial” statements that could potentially bias the jury selection process and influence the outcome of the trial.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ben Weingarten argues that the proposed gag order is primarily a political maneuver designed to undermine his presidential campaign. Weingarten contends that it is, in fact, the Biden administration that is influencing the legal process and diminishing confidence in the judicial system.

You see, Jack Smith claims Trump is seeking to “undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks on the citizens of this District, the Court, prosecutors and prospective witnesses.” Totally subjective, of course.

But actually, the Biden administration and its special counsel, the judge and jury pool, have undermined confidence in the system all on their own, prejudicing the proceedings. 

Recall that this is a case brought by a prosecutor on behalf of this vindictive White House with a history of losing unanimously at the Supreme Court in his zealous pursuit of political figures — a prosecutor involved in the Lois Lerner IRS scandal against conservatives. This is an unprecedented and novel case, outlined in an indictment that is nothing if not political and prejudiced, from a prosecutor with a penchant for prejudicing himself by leaking to undermine Trump.

On September 21, Special Counsel Jack Smith filed his proposed gag order for Donald Trump in the January 6 related case brought in Washington DC. One Smith dubbed, quote unquote narrowly tailored. Let’s rephrase that, on September 21, a special counsel tab by the Attorney General appointed by Trump’s arch rival successor, the men Trump is most likely running against, wants to shut him up about an expressly political case in the middle of the election. In fact, Trump may be prohibited from even saying just that per of the order which is anything but narrowly tailored. This despite the fact the weaponization and hyper politicization of the justice system is precisely what is on the ballot in 2024. 

 

Smith’s order stipulates that Trump and his team cannot make or authorize statements, quote, including through social media, they pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case. Such statements include but are not limited to statements regarding the credibility of prospective witnesses, and disparaging and inflammatory or intimidating statements about any party witness attorney court personnel or potential jurors. The gag order is meant to ensure that extra judicial statements do not prejudice these proceedings. 

 

You see, Jack Smith claims Trump is seeking to, quote undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks on the citizens of this district, the court prosecutors and prospective witnesses, totally subjective, of course. But actually, the Biden administration and its special counsel, the judge and jury pool have undermined confidence in the system, all on their own prejudicing the proceedings. 

 

Recall that this is a case brought by a prosecutor on behalf of this vindictive White House with a history of losing unanimously at the Supreme Court in his zealous pursuit of political figures. A prosecutor involved in the Lois Lerner IRS scandal against conservatives. This is an unprecedented a novel case outlined in an indictment that is nothing if not political and prejudiced from a prosecutor with a pension for prejudicing himself by leaking to undermine Trump. 

 

Recall Trump faces account for somehow conspiring to violate the quote, right to vote and to have one’s vote counted under a statute targeting law enforcement misconduct and hate crime prosecutions, originally aimed at combating the kk k and another count for obstruction of an official proceeding and offense never before applied to prosecute political protesters until the Biden DOJ shoehorn in the law to target other January 6 defendants. And still another account for conspiracy to defraud the United States. A theory based on the idea Trump really knew in his heart of hearts he lost so by contesting the election, he committed fraud, notwithstanding the federal fraud statutes, according to the Supreme Court, quote, criminalized only schemes to deprive people of traditional property interests, and that fraud statutes are about protecting the integrity of the United States. And the legitimacy of elections is pretty darn critical to the integrity of the United States. 

 

Then there’s the judge probably the most hostile Trump could have drawn in a hostile DC circuit in which fellow judges menacingly sat in the room to witness Trump’s appearance in the case that has regularly permitted January 6 defendants to be railroaded. And then there’s the juries that have signed off on all this rubber stamped it. And let as we’ve noted before, the likes of say, Michael Sussman walk, on top of what they’ve done in rubber stamping the J six cases. 

 

This is the state’s venue. Donald Trump is treated as an enemy of the state, hated by the political establishment and public alike to the tune of a 5% vote share to there in Washington DC in 2020. There is no jury of his peers. And does anyone think that the media won’t have further prejudiced all the jurors? Do you think a juror who might even have the faintest thought of quitting wouldn’t feel intimidated in this case. 

 

Now, the courts have struck down such a gag order before as the Article Three projects Mike Davis notes, when Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford senior was put under a gag order in 1987 while facing bribery charges, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted it finding it violated his right to free speech. Quote one may strongly disagree with the political view he expresses the Court wrote, but I have no doubt that he has the right to express his outrage he is entitled to fight the obvious damage to his political reputation in the press, and in the court of public opinion, as well as in the courtroom and on the floor of Congress. 

 

Is this court going to adhere to that standard or further undermine itself by going along with Smith. Already this whole case is an assault on the First Amendment and criminalizing the right to contest an election, among other amendments. And so the gag order is in keeping with its tyrannical tenor, the facts of the case undermine confidence in the administration of justice, telling Trump not to speak the truth as he sees it only further undermines confidence. It says that it’s not only a contrived case, but that he shouldn’t be able to say anything about that case. 

 

The Biden administration is effectively getting to run a campaign of maximum political warfare against candidate Trump. Candidate Trump is being told he can’t defend himself against that onslaught. They want them not only guilty but gagged until proven innocent we’ll see if Judge Chutkan obliges them either way once again it is clear this case is not about the merits it’s purely about politics and that makes for an abomination of justice

 

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