The office of Special Counsel Jack Smith mentioned both former President Donald Trump seemingly threatening the life of recently retired Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley and his visit to a South Carolina gun store in a Washington, DC legal filing pushing for a gag order.
The prosecutors have been trying for some time to place limits on Mr Trump’s public speech to stop him from threatening possible witnesses or tainting the pool of possible jurors.
The prosecutors noted that if Mr Trump had bought a firearm, he would have been in violation of his release conditions in the election subversion case.
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign wrote in a social media post that Mr Trump had bought a gun, only to later remove the post and say that the ex-president hadn’t bought a gun, but had only said that he wanted to.
Attorneys from the office of the Special Counsel mentioned the gun store visit and Mr Trump’s targeting of Gen Milley as they argued that federal Judge Tanya Chutkan should place additional restrictions on Mr Trump and what he can say ahead of the trial.
In a late-night filing on Friday, the prosecutors wrote: “Despite his spokesperson’s retraction, the Defendant then re-posted a video of the incident posted by one of his followers with the caption, ‘MY PRESIDENT Trump just bought a Golden Glock before his rally in South Carolina after being arrested 4 TIMES in a year.’”
“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,” they added. “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.
“The defendant should not be permitted to obtain the benefits of his incendiary public statements and then avoid accountability by having others—whose messages he knows will receive markedly less attention than his own—feign retraction,” the prosecutors wrote in the 22-page filing.
If Mr Trump is found to have violated the conditions of his release, he could be forced to wait for the trial in jail.
The office of the special counsel also mentions Mr Trump’s attacks on Gen Milley.
On 22 September, Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social: “Mark Milley, who led perhaps the most embarrassing moment in American history with his grossly incompetent implementation of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, costing many lives, leaving behind hundreds of American citizens, and handing over BILLIONS of dollars of the finest military equipment ever made, will be leaving the military next week. This will be a time for all citizens of the USA to celebrate!
“This guy turned out to be a Woke train wreck who, if the Fake News reporting is correct, was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States. This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH! A war between China and the United States could have been the result of this treasonous act. To be continued!!!” he added.
The prosecutors included a screenshot of the post in their Friday filing, writing that “the defendant falsely claimed that the retiring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a witness cited in the indictment, had committed treason and suggested that he should be executed”.
The limited-time gag order is set to be considered by Judge Chutkan at a hearing on 16 October.
Mr Trump’s legal team has argued that such an order would be in violation of the Constitution, claiming that it would be an attempt to silence Mr Trump as he campaigns to return to the White House.
The prosecutors also pointed to several moments during Mr Trump’s 17 September appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press.
The special counsel’s office writes that Mr Trump said “that the Georgia Secretary of State, a witness identified in the indictment, recently said things that he had not, including that the defendant ‘didn’t do anything wrong’ during a phone call constituting an overt act in the indictment”.
The prosecutors also noted that Mr Trump said “that another witness identified in the indictment, the former Attorney General, ‘didn’t do his job’ during the charged conspiracy because he was afraid of being impeached”.
The prosecutors also mentioned Mr Trump’s attacks against them.
“On September 26, on Truth Social, the defendant posted a link to an article singling out a specific prosecutor in the Special Counsel’s Office and claiming that the SCO is a ‘team of Lunatics that are working so hard on creating Election Interference . . .’” they wrote.
The prosecutors then went on to argue that Mr Trump’s “baseless attacks on the Court and two individual prosecutors not only could subject them to threats—it also could cause potential jurors to develop views about the propriety of the prosecution, an improper consideration for a juror prior to trial”.
They also note Mr Trump’s attacks on Judge Chutkan for allegedly being unfair and that he shared “an article circulating a false accusation against a Special Counsel’s Office prosecutor with the caption, ‘Really corrupt!’” on 5 September.
The special counsel’s office also cited Mr Trump’s attack on former Vice President Mike Pence the following day, in which he said that he had gone to the “Dark Side”.
“In the defendant’s opposition—premised on inapplicable caselaw and false claims—he demands special treatment, asserting that because he is a political candidate, he should have free rein to publicly intimidate witnesses and malign the Court, citizens of this District, and prosecutors. But in this case, Donald J. Trump is a criminal defendant like any other,” they write,
“Far from being the ‘contempt trap’ that the defendant claims ... the proposed order is more targeted than others previously entered in this District,” they add.