Special counsel Jack Smith filed a reply late Friday to claims made by Donald Trump’s legal team that Smith’s request for a gag order was an attempt to silence the former president. In the 22-page filing, Smith’s team argues that Trump’s recent attacks on prosecutors in the case and his reported attempt to buy a gun underscore the need for more protection as the case heads to trial.
Smith requested the gag order on Aug. 5. His office now argues that since then, “the defendant has continued to make statements that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case and that fall within the narrowly tailored order proposed by the Government.”
The office gets more specific with evidence it cites to show a gag order is needed, including posts Trump has shared on Truth Social in which he attacks both Smith and his former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as verbal attacks against General Mike Milley.
The documents state that Trump “falsely claimed [Milley]… had committed treason and suggested that he should be executed.” It also notes that not only could attacks against prosecutors “subject them to threats,” but could also compromise potential jurors and cause them to “develop views about the propriety of the prosecution, an improper consideration for a juror prior to trial.”
The filing also directly addresses claims Trump’s attorneys have made that imply that witnesses have not felt intimidated by the former president’s threats. The filing reads, “Even assuming that certain witnesses are not intimidated by the defendant’s statements, other witnesses see and may be affected by what the defendant does to those who are called to testify in this case.”
Smith’s office expressed additional concern about videos that appear to show Trump attempting to buy a gun on a visit to South Carolina. It’s illegal for the former president to buy a gun while he faces 91 felony counts across four indictments, but that did little to stop Trump from telling the crowd he “wants to buy one.”
Despite claims made by Trump’s campaign team that he did not actually make the purchase, Smith argues that the implication he might have is enough. The filing states, “The defendant either purchased a gun in violation of the law and his conditions of release, or seeks to benefit from his supporters’ mistaken belief that he did so.”
If true, this would add more legal woe to Trump’s already hefty pile. The filing continues, “It would be a separate federal crime, and thus a violation of the defendant’s conditions of release, for him to purchase a gun while this felony indictment is pending.”