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Jack Smith Declares An Emergency – Demands New Hearing

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Since Special Council Jack Smith indicted former President Donald Trump on January 6 for his actions, the case’s twists and turns have been daily news.

The allegations arise from the fact that then-President Trump questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election, despite widespread reports of fraudulent voting. Trump has disputed any misconduct, and both he and conservatives maintain that the false accusations are motivated by politics.

The indictment against Trump, which was unsealed last week, disputes that he is being charged for exercising his First Amendment rights, instead alleging that he engaged in three criminal conspiracies as “unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting election results,” according to ABC News.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges of “undertaking a ‘criminal scheme’ to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called ‘fake electors’ targeting several states; using the Justice Department to conduct ‘sham election crime investigations’; and trying to enlist the vice president to ‘alter the election results’ — all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power,” ABC News continues.

On Friday, Trump’s now-viral social media post threatened a fight: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU! Smith promptly requested a protective order from the magistrate late Friday in response to the post. Trump has not asked to be shielded from Smith and his indictment; he has only requested that he be allowed to exercise his First Amendment rights to free speech.

Monday, in response to the special counsel’s motion for a protective order over the discovery evidence in the case against Trump for allegedly attempting to invalidate the 2020 election, Trump’s attorneys made this argument. The filing on Monday argues for narrower restrictions on the protective order, which, according to Trump’s counsel, would safeguard confidential information while preserving his right to free expression.

“In a trial about First Amendment rights, the government seeks to restrict First Amendment rights,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in their filing. “Worse, it does so against its administration’s primary political opponent, during an election season in which the administration, prominent party members, and media allies have campaigned on the indictment and proliferated its false allegations.”

In a once again quick response filed Monday night, Smith accused Trump’s legal team of proposing an order “designed to allow him to try this case in the media rather than in the courtroom,” ABC News noted.

“To facilitate the efficient production of discovery to the defense, the Government proposed a reasonable protective order consistent with current practice in this District,” the special counsel’s team wrote. “To safeguard witness privacy and the integrity of these proceedings, the Court should enter the Government’s proposed protective order.”

The special counsel countered that Trump’s proposed protective order “would lead to the public dissemination of discovery material.” Smith appears to want his accusations to be made public, but not the documents supporting Trump’s responses.

ABC reports that Judge Chutkan responded to the filing by ordering the special counsel and Trump’s legal team to propose two dates and times for a hearing on their competing protective order petitions by Tuesday at 3 p.m.

The judge stated that she desires the hearing to take place before Friday and that Trump’s presence is not required.

Since the flurry of requests that began a week ago, Trump’s team has reiterated the post’s appropriateness, stating in a statement that it was intended for political interest organizations. “The Truth post cited is the definition of political speech,” a spokesperson for President Trump said in a statement.

ABC reported that the proposed protective order submitted by Smith would restrict Trump and his attorneys from disclosing evidence such as materials returned from grand jury subpoenas, witness testimony, and other exhibits presented to the grand jury.

Smith’s order does not restrict Trump from discussing materials that were already available to the public apart from the government’s investigation. However, it does restrict Trump from stating facts that he believes should be transparent, which could reflect negatively on Smith.

In their filing on Monday, Trump’s attorneys accuse Smith’s team of asking Judge Tanya Chutkan to “assume the role of censor and impose content-based regulations on President Trump’s political speech that would forbid him from publicly discussing or disclosing all non-public documents produced by the government, including both purportedly sensitive materials, and non-sensitive, potentially exculpatory documents.”

Trump “does not contest the government’s claimed interest in restricting some of the documents it must produce” such as grand jury-related materials — but “the need to protect that information does not require a blanket gag order over all documents produced by the government,” the filing says.

The new hearing will determine the tone and likely outcome of the indictment proceedings.

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