Jack Smith asked the judge overseeing Donald Trump's 2020 election case for a protective order, warning Trump could "adversely affect the fair administration of justice" with his public comments.
The pretext for Smith's request was a post Trump sent Friday warning of retaliation against his political enemies. The post was vague and did not name any specific individuals.
The liberal Obama appointee presiding over the case, District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, ordered Trump to respond to the protective order request by 5 p.m. Monday. Trump asked for more time, but the judge shot down the request.
Of course, many - including Trump - would argue the "fair administration of justice" is already a remote possibility in this unprecedented case.
The indictment, unsealed last week, effectively criminalizes political differences by charging Trump with sharing "false" beliefs about the 2020 election.
Smith has shared no evidence that Trump lied about an election he seems to fervently believe was stolen from him. Trump - who is Joe Biden's top rival - has blasted the case as a chilling attack on free speech and an attempt to interfere in a presidential election on a scale never seen before.
In a Truth Social post on Friday, Trump wrote, "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!"
Trump's critics called the post threatening - and Smith cited it in his request for a protective order.
Meanwhile, Trump has ignored admonitions to dial back his rhetoric, instead doubling down on his criticism of "deranged Jack Smith."
Trump suggested Smith should be subject to a protective order instead for leaking to the media. Smith, in his request for a protective order, had raised concern Trump would expose sensitive material.
"No, I shouldn’t have a protective order placed on me because it would impinge upon my right to FREE SPEECH. Deranged Jack Smith and the Department of Injustice should, however, because they are illegally “leaking” all over the place!" Trump wrote.
Trump has also said he will seek to have the case removed from overwhelmingly Democratic D.C., where he is likely to face a hostile judge and jury. Chutkan, an Obama appointee, has a reputation for overzealous punishment of January 6th defendants.
There being almost no chance Trump will receive justice within this rigged legal process, it appears Smith is doing everything he can to cripple Trump's ability to defend himself outside of it, in the court of public opinion.
This is political persecution, plain and simple.