Special Counsel Smith files frantic motion in D.C. court to limit and silence Trump's defense during trial

 December 28, 2023

Even though former President Donald Trump's 2020 election-related criminal trial in Washington D.C. has been placed on hold pending an appeal on his presidential immunity claim, that didn't stop Special Counsel Jack Smith from filing a substantial motion in the case.

Smith has asked the court to strictly limit what Trump and his attorneys can and can't say during the trial and demanded the specific prohibition of "irrelevant disinformation," "prejudicial issues," and conspiracy theories that might confuse the jury, according to HuffPost.

As infuriating as the motion is, in that it seeks to restrict Trump's free speech rights, it also seemingly reveals a weakness and worry for Smith that Trump and his attorneys may prove capable of defeating the prosecution's arguments with a variety of different and compelling counterpoints and facts.

Smith seeks to substantially limit Trump's defense arguments

"Through public statements, filings, and argument in hearings before the Court, the defense has attempted to inject into this case partisan political attacks and irrelevant and prejudicial issues that have no place in a jury trial," Special Counsel Smith said in the 20-page filing. "Although the Court can recognize these efforts for what they are and disregard them, the jury -- if subjected to them -- may not."

"The Court should not permit the defendant to turn the courtroom into a forum in which he propagates irrelevant disinformation, and should reject his attempt to inject politics into this proceeding," the motion continued. "To ensure that the jury remains focused on its fact-finding duty and applies the law as instructed by the Court, the defendant’s improper evidence and argument should be excluded."

Smith went on to remind the court that rules require the exclusion of irrelevant information, but added, "Even if evidence is relevant, the Court may exclude it if 'its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.'"

Smith outlines multiple areas in which Trump's defense should be constrained

The Wednesday filing from Special Counsel Smith proceeded to outline several areas in which the court should restrict the speech of former President Trump and his attorneys, including the exclusion of evidence or arguments that "have no bearing on his guilt or innocence, are otherwise irrelevant, or are substantially more prejudicial than probative."

That includes claims that the prosecution is politically motivated or that he is being selectively persecuted by President Joe Biden's administration, as well as raising legal issues like his claim of presidential immunity or speaking of the potential consequences he faces, both politically and personally, if convicted.

Smith also asked the court to bar Trump and his attorneys from referencing the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in "irrelevant or prejudicial" ways, including by asserting various security failures by certain authorities, alleging the participation and violence of government agents and informants in the crowd, or claiming that rioters were incited by foreign influence.

"A bank robber cannot defend himself by blaming the bank’s security guard for failing to stop him. A fraud defendant cannot claim to the jury that his victims should have known better than to fall for his scheme. And the defendant cannot argue that law enforcement should have prevented the violence he caused and obstruction he intended," the filing stated.

Finally, Smith asked the court to prohibit Trump and his attorneys from speaking about "post-crime" changes to certain election-related laws, of asking witnesses for their observations of his alleged state of mind -- apparently only prosecutors can speculate in that regard -- and to constrain any cross-examination of government witnesses to exclude anything that might be classified or privileged.

Trump responds to Smith's filing

In response to that filing from Special Counsel Smith, former President Trump took to his Truth Social account on Wednesday and wrote, "Crooked Joe Biden’s errand boy, Deranged Jack Smith, is obsessed with attacking your favorite President, me, and with interfering in the 2024 Presidential Election, which I am Dominating."

"Deranged Jack is so Viciously and Desperately Angry that the Supreme Court just unanimously rejected his flailing attempt to rush this Witch Hunt, that he is ignoring the Law and clear instructions from the D.C. Court that this 'case' should be stayed, and there cannot be any more filings," he continued.

"Today’s pathetic motion is not just Illegal, it is also another Unconstitutional attempt to take away my First Amendment Rights, and to prevent me from saying the TRUTH -- that all of these Hoaxes are nothing but a political persecution of me, the MAGA Movement, and the Republican Party by Crooked Joe and his Despicable Thugs," Trump added. "The Radical Left Communists, Marxists, and Fascists are petrified of me speaking the TRUTH because the American People don’t want them destroying our Country. Make America Great Again!"

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