Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Judge in Trump classified documents case reprimands prosecutor at hearing

By 37ci3 Jun25,2024

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – The presiding judge Donald Trump‘s classified documents case reprimanded a prosecutor in the office of special counsel Jack Smith at a hearing Monday on a proposed gag order for the former president.

“I don’t appreciate your tone” US District Judge Eileen Cannon Attorney David Harbach said when Trump became angry as he questioned the need to change the terms of his release. Smith’s office disputed those terms with Trump’s false claims about the presence of FBI agents while executing a 2022 search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago property, they prepared to kill him.

The tense exchange at the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce came as lawyer Harbach argued that Cannon should bar Trump from making more inflammatory statements about FBI agents working on the investigation.

Cannon noted that the agents’ names were redacted in court documents, while Harbach noted that the agents were falsified shortly after the search. Cannon told Harbach his behavior was unprofessional and warned him that if he didn’t correct his behavior, he would demand someone else’s arguments.

Harbach later apologized. “I didn’t mean to be unprofessional,” he said.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche urged Cannon to reject the prosecution’s request, arguing that Trump’s comments cited by government lawyers were directed at President Joe Biden, not the FBI.

“If you look at the actual records, there is no threat to FBI agents,” Blanche said. “Attacks on Joe Biden.”

Last month, one of Trump’s Truth Social posts falsely claimed that “Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ authorized the FBI to use LETHAL (lethal) force during the illegal and unconstitutional raid on Mar-a-Lago.”

According to the FBI, Trump’s statements last month were based on a “standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force” that is typically included in search warrants. Additionally, Trump was not in Florida at the time of the raid; The FBI coordinated the search for Mar-a-Lago when it learned it would be out of state.

Blanch told a judge Monday that if he agrees to change the conditions of Trump’s release to bar him from making similar statements in the future, Trump could be jailed if he violates the order during Thursday’s presidential debate. Blanche also claimed that the proposed restrictions are so vague that they are “unbelievably cool”.

Harbach urged Cannon to act now and not “wait for tragedy to strike.”

Cannon said he was skeptical of Harbach’s argument that Trump’s comments could be followed by violence by his supporters, and that “some actual connection between A and B” was still needed.

Cannon did not rule on prosecutors’ request for a gag order at the end of the 90-minute hearing. Instead, he said both sides had until Wednesday to submit additional evidence for his review.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges related to his handling of classified material. No trial date has been set.

Owen Hayes and Jake Traylor reported from Fort Pierce and Dareh Gregorian from New York.

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By 37ci3

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