Special Counsel Seeking Limited Gag Order on Trump in Elections Case

Federal prosecutors have asked the judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump’s indictment on charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election to impose “a narrowly tailored” gag order on him, citing his “near-daily” social media attacks on numerous people involved in the case, according to court papers released on Friday.

The request to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who has herself been the subject of some of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults, brought to a head the simmering issue of the former president’s online statements. In a 19-page motion, prosecutors complained that some of the people Mr. Trump has gone after on social media — including the special counsel, Jack Smith, who has filed two indictments against the former president — experienced subsequent threats from other people.

“Since the indictment in this case, the defendant has spread disparaging and inflammatory public posts on Truth Social on a near-daily basis regarding the citizens of the District of Columbia, the court, prosecutors and prospective witnesses,” prosecutors wrote.

“Like his previous public disinformation campaign regarding the 2020 presidential election,” they wrote, “the defendant’s recent extrajudicial statements are intended to undermine public confidence in an institution — the judicial system — and to undermine confidence in and intimidate individuals — the court, the jury pool, witnesses and prosecutors.”

The request by prosecutors has largely been made so far in sealed filings. But last month, at a public hearing in Federal District Court in Washington, Judge Chutkan sent an open shot across Mr. Trump’s bow, telling his lawyers that she would not tolerate any remarks from the former president that might “intimidate witnesses or prejudice potential jurors.”

“I caution you and your client to take special care in your public statements in this case,” Judge Chutkan said. “I will take whatever measures are necessary to protect the integrity of these proceedings.”

But within days, as prosecutors noted in their most recent filing, Mr. Trump tested that warning by posting a string of messages on his social media website, Truth Social, that largely amplified others criticizing Judge Chutkan.

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