Trump seeks to sow doubt against special counsel, judge in election case

Trump seeks to sow doubt against special counsel, judge in election case

Special counsel Jack Smith 'is going before his number one draft pick, the Judge of his 'dreams,' says ex-president

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Former US President Donald Trump sought to cast doubt Monday on the integrity of Special Counsel Jack Smith and the judge overseeing the case against him on his alleged efforts to retain power after the 2020 election.

Trump said Smith "is going before his number one draft pick, the Judge of his “dreams” (WHO MUST BE RECUSED!), in an attempt to take away my FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS." He was referring to District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, and the article of the Constitution that protects free speech.

"This, despite the fact that he, the DOJ, and his many Thug prosecutors, are illegally leaking, everything and anything, to the Fake News Media!!!" he added on Truth Social, referring to the Department of Justice.

Trump made the comments as his defense team faces a Monday afternoon deadline to file a brief in court in response to a request from prosecutors for Chutkan to issue a protective order in the election case.

Justice Department attorneys are seeking the order to prevent Trump and his attorneys from sharing with the public sensitive evidence that will be handed over to them ahead of trial. That includes grand jury testimony, witness information, and other evidence that will be shared as part of what is known as discovery.

Prosecutors sought the order after Trump posted an apparently menacing message on Truth Social Friday, saying "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!"

Trump continued to use the platform Monday to say Chutkan should not approve the order "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!" he said, without offering any evidence to back up his claim.

The former president was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in the Justice Department's long-running investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

He has maintained his innocence, and his lawyers are expected to argue that his comments were protected speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution and that he legitimately believed his claims of election fraud.

Tuesday's indictment marks the third criminal case against Trump since he left office following another federal case in the state of Florida related to his alleged unlawful retention of classified government documents and efforts to stymy investigators, and a case in New York related to hush money payments to an adult film star.

But the latest indictment marks the most significant case against the ex-president to date.

Smith had been leading a longstanding investigation into Trump and his political allies and efforts to prevent President Joe Biden from assuming power after he won the November 2020 polls by 7 million votes.

The indictment repeatedly said Trump "knowingly" sought to mislead the American public to ensure that the peaceful transfer of power to Biden would not occur and "pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election."

"Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won," it said.

"These claims were false and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway--to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election," it added.

The 45-page indictment charges Trump with conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights. Six others are listed as co-conspirators, but are not named.

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