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Judge Rejects Gag Order on Donald Trump in Classified Documents Case

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Judge Rejects Gag Order on Donald Trump in Classified Documents Case

(CTN News) – On Tuesday, Federal Judge Aileen Cannon denied special counsel Jack Smith’s request for a gag order against Donald Trump in the secret papers case, stating that prosecutors’ attempts to communicate with the defendant were “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.”

In a brief order, Cannon chastised prosecutors for failing to follow the court’s guidelines by not consulting with Donald Trump’s defense counsel about a potential gag order before submitting the request.

“Because the filing of the Special Counsel’s Motion did not adhere to these basic requirements, it is due to be denied without prejudice,” Cannon said. He continued, “It should go without saying that meaningful conferral is not a perfunctory exercise.”

The judge’s order underlines the time-consuming filing process that has frequently hampered the case as it approaches trial.

Donald Trump’s Response to Gag Order Request Draws Attention

Cannon ruled that prosecutors can request a gag order again if they give Donald Trump’s defense team “sufficient time” to read the motion and debate it with them.

The special counsel’s request, the first in the classified materials mishandling case, came after Trump repeatedly and misleadingly blasted the FBI for having a policy on using deadly force during the search and seizure of government papers at his resort in August 2022.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s team sent a fundraising email claiming that FBI agents were “locked and loaded” and that he had “nearly escaped death” at Mar-a-Lago.

While Trump has informed followers that the policy could have put him at risk, it is a common protocol for FBI investigations and limits how much force agents can use during searches. The FBI used the same normal policy to search President Joe Biden’s homes and offices in a separate classified document inquiry.

In a court filing late on Memorial Day, Donald Trump’s attorneys argued that the gag order request was an “extraordinary, unprecedented, and unconstitutional censorship application” targeting his speech as a presidential candidate.

The attorneys also claimed that prosecutors, whom they dubbed “self-appointed Thought police,” were “seeking to condition President Donald Trump’s liberty on his compliance” with their own beliefs.

Though many outside legal experts have previously criticized Cannon’s approach to the classified documents case, in this case, Cannon was “right,” according to Mark Schnapp, a South Florida defense attorney not involved in the case, who cited the court’s local rules for meeting and conferring.

Schnapp stated that it “just looks bad” for the prosecution to file the motion on a Friday night of a holiday weekend when the defense side had agreed to debate the gag order request on Monday.

Was it going to be a pointless exercise? “Yes,” Schnapp replied. “But it wasn’t the kind of thing that they should have filed without following the rules.”

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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