Judge Denies Gag Order Request by Special Counsel Jack Smith

 May 29, 2024

On Friday, Special Counsel Jack Smith announced that he would be seeking a limited gag order after Donald Trump's comments regarding the Mar-a-Lago search warrant.

In a somewhat surprising ruling, Judge Aileen Cannon denied the request, the first gag order declined in the Trump trials.

Talking Points…
- Trump 'locked and loaded' comments
- Gag order requested and denied
- Analysis

Trump Comments Stir Controversy

Last week, the language in the FBI search warrant was one of the more significant reports that hit. The warrant did not deviate from the usual protocol, which means that "deadly force" had been authorized. Again, this is typical of the language, but even I was not surprised that a modification was not issued considering this was the home of a former president. That aside, the raid was purposely conducted when Donald Trump was out of town, so he was never in any real danger.

Trump latched on to the report to get his supporters riled up Truth Social as well as in a fundraiser email, where he wrote:

"BIDEN'S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME! It's just been revealed that Biden's DOJ was authorized to use DEADLY FORCE for their DESPICABLE raid in Mar-a-Lago. You know they're just itching to do the unthinkable … Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger."

Gag Order Requested and Denied

When we covered Trump's initial comments, it was a given that Smith would jump all over this to seek a gag order, as had been done in other cases. That happened only days later, with Smith citing Trump's rhetoric and requesting that he be prevented from making such statements in the future. The gag order had a very limited scope, so I thought it would be approved.

Smith's request stated that Trump's comments were "deceptive and inflammatory claims" that exposed federal agents to "unjustified and unacceptable risks," inviting "threats and harassment" against investigators that would "undermine the integrity of the proceedings as well as jeopardize the safety of law enforcement."

Trump's attorneys responded:

"President Donald J. Trump respectfully submits this procedural opposition to the May 24, 2024 filing by the Special Counsel's Office, which improperly asks the Court to impose an unconstitutional gag order on President Trump, as a condition of his pretrial release, based on vague and unsupported assertions about threats to law enforcement personnel whose names have been redacted from public filings and whose identities are already subject to a protective order," Trump's lawyers wrote in the filing.

"… [T]he Court should strike the Motion, make civil contempt findings as to all government attorneys who participated in the decision to file the Motion without meaningful conferral, and impose sanctions after holding an evidentiary hearing regarding the purpose and intent behind the Office's decision to willfully disregard required procedures."

Judge Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, denied the motion on a procedural error due to the timing of the request, which was done at the close of business on Friday. She wrote:

"Because the filing of the Special Counsel's motion did not adhere to these basic requirements, it is due to be denied without prejudice."


Based on the wording of Cannon's ruling, I believe that Smith will refile, meeting her requirements for review and response by the defense, then rule in favor of the gag order with a very limited scope. I actually love the fact that Cannon called out Smith for filing being submitted in this fashion, as we have seen this tactic before and have always called it out. But again, eventually, a gag order will probably be placed against Trump for his comments.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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