Former President Donald Trump was already facing a hearing on a gag order, and now special counsel Jack Smith has piled on to his arguments, using some of Trump’s posts on social media and other statements against him.
Smith’s “Opposed Motion to Ensure that Extrajudicial Statements Do Not Prejudice These Proceedings” had first been filed on September 15, but the prosecution on Friday filed an addition document with the court in support of that motion.
The new filing points to statements made by the former president about retiring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, Judge Tanya Chutkan, former Vice President Mike Pence, and others, including Smith himself, as possibly intimidating witnesses and improperly influencing prospective jurors in the case.
In addition, Smith pointed out that Trump may have violated the terms of his release by purchasing a handgun in a video that was distributed widely on social media.
“The defendant either purchased a gun in violation of the law and his conditions of release, or seeks to benefit from his supporters’ mistaken belief that he did so,” Smith wrote in a footnote to the supporting document filed Friday.
“It would be a separate federal crime, and thus a violation of the defendant’s conditions of release, for him to purchase a gun while this felony indictment is pending.”
New: Special Counsel flags to US district judge Chutkan that Trump may have violated the terms of his release over the Glock stunt in South Carolina — where he said he intended to buy the gun, a violation of federal law when under indictment, and spox walked it back. pic.twitter.com/pNY6spiDyg
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) September 30, 2023
(The entire filing appears below.)
According to the filing, Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump, posted a video Monday saying that the former president had purchased a firearm at a gun store in South Carolina.
The video, now deleted, showed Trump handling a Glock and saying, “I want to buy one.”
On the post to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Cheung wrote, “President Trump purchases a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!”
Cheung soon reversed course, however. In a statement later that day to Newsweek, Cheung said instead that his boss “did not purchase or take possession of the firearm. He simply indicated that he wanted one.”
However, Trump himself seemed to confirm that he had purchased the gun, which would be a potential violation of the terms of his release pending trial. When a supporter re-posted the same video on social media, Trump shared it on his Truth Social account.
“MY PRESIDENT Trump just bought a Golden Glock before his rally in South Carolina after being arrested 4 TIMES in a year,” the supporter wrote on the original post.
From there, Smith concluded that Trump had either acted criminally or dishonestly, as his filing said: “The defendant either purchased a gun in violation of the law and his conditions of release, or seeks to benefit from his supporters’ mistaken belief that he did so.”
“Smith’s updated request also included a handful of recent Truth Social posts by Trump, including his attacks against retired U.S. Army General Mark Milley, who’s exiting soon from his post as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, disproven claims regarding the 2020 election in Georgia, and describing the Special Counsel’s Office as a ‘team of Lunatics that are working so hard on creating Election Interference,’” Newsweek added.
You can read the government’s Friday filing in its entirety below.
Judge Chutkan has scheduled a hearing on the gag order motion for October 16.