Advertisement

No ruling on gag order in Trump classified documents case as judge admonishes prosecution

A federal judge in Florida heard arguments Monday, without issuing a ruling, on whether to impose a limited gag order on former President Donald Trump in his federal classified documents case as he campaigns for president. The former president has gag orders in three other cases, including his criminal hush money conviction in New York. Pool Photo by Steven Hirsch/UPI
A federal judge in Florida heard arguments Monday, without issuing a ruling, on whether to impose a limited gag order on former President Donald Trump in his federal classified documents case as he campaigns for president. The former president has gag orders in three other cases, including his criminal hush money conviction in New York. Pool Photo by Steven Hirsch/UPI | License Photo

June 24 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Florida heard arguments Monday, without issuing a ruling, on whether to impose a limited gag order on former President Donald Trump in his federal classified documents case as he campaigns for president.

Judge Aileen Cannon did not rule on the government's request that would prevent Trump from making public statements "that pose a significant, imminent and foreseeable danger to the law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case."

Advertisement

Instead, Cannon admonished Department of Justice prosecutor David Harbach for his tone and challenged him to produce evidence to justify the constitutionality of the proposed gag order.

"I don't appreciate your tone," Cannon told Harbach. "I expect decorum in this courtroom at all times," to which Harbach apologized.

"Where on the attachments do you see a call for violence?" Cannon asked, after admonishing prosecutors for failing to produce evidence showing a pattern of conduct from Trump's other cases.

The statements stem from comments Trump made about FBI agents who raided his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida in August 2022.

Special counsel Jack Smith requested the gag order after the Trump campaign released a fundraising email that said, "Joe Biden was locked and loaded ready to take me out and put my family in danger."

Advertisement

Language in the search warrant banned force unless the target posed an "imminent danger of death or serious physical injury," which Smith said is "routine practice."

In a separate fundraising email, Trump said it was "revealed that Biden's DOJ was authorized to use deadly force for their despicable raid in Mar-a-Lago" and "they're just itching to do the unthinkable."

Smith and the government argued in their motion that "these deceptive and inflammatory claims expose law enforcement professionals who are involved in this case to unjustified and unacceptable risks."

Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche discounted claims of danger to law enforcement, saying instead that setting a precedent for a defendant to have their bail modified for political speech is "dangerous."

Trump has argued that a gag order would violate his right to free speech, especially as he campaigns for president leading up to the November election.

Blanche also argued that the gag order is too vague, claiming Trump's statements are attacks against President Joe Biden and not on law enforcement officials.

The former president has gag orders in three other cases, including his New York criminal hush money conviction and his election interference case.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 37 counts related to mishandling classified documents and storing them at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida after he left the White House.

Advertisement

Last month, Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely due to outstanding pretrial litigation, making it less likely the case will go to trial before Election Day.

Latest Headlines