The U.S. special prosecutor prosecuting Donald Trump has asked a judge to limit the former president's free speech ahead of his federal trial over his attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.
According to prosecutor Jack Smith, Donald Trump's repeated criticism of the Justice Department, the residents of Washington and the judge in charge of the case, Tanya Chutkan, could disrupt the smooth running of justice.
"So I'm campaigning to be president (...) and I'm not allowed to speak? They're leaking (information), lying, suing, and don't want me to speak?" quickly reacted Donald Trump on his Truth Social platform.
The former president's comments "could have a significant impact on the population from which the (trial) jury will be selected and at the same time influence the statements of witnesses", according to the prosecution.
Anyone reading or listening to Mr. Trump's statements "could reasonably be afraid of being the next target of the defendant's attacks," adds Jack Smith in a court document.
Donald Trump's trial in this case is scheduled to begin on March 4, the day before "Super Tuesday", one of the most important deadlines in the Republican primaries for which he is the big favorite.
Until then, Mr. Smith wants the Republican billionaire to be prohibited from making any derogatory or intimidating statements about anyone named in the case or who may be named in the case, and to make absolutely no statements about future witnesses.
Donald Trump also accused Judge Tanya Chutkan of "hating" him and described the prosecutor's office as a "team of thugs." However, according to this same team, these comments turned into very real threats, and "it is clear that these threats are provoked by the words, constantly repeated, of the accused".
In mid-August, a woman was arrested in Texas for death threats against Ms. Chutkan, who has yet to respond to Mr. Smith's request to limit Donald Trump's comments before his trial.
16/09/2023 10:15:46 - Washington (AFP) - © 2023 AFP