Prosecutors seek Trump gag after ‘dangerous’ comments

Federal prosecutors have asked the judge overseeing the classified documents case against Donald Trump to bar the former president from public statements that “pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents” participating in the prosecution.

The request on Friday to US District Judge Aileen Cannon follows a false claim by Trump earlier in the week that the FBI agents who searched his home in August 2022 were “authorized to shoot me” and were “locked & loaded ready to take me out & “put my family in danger.”

He was referring to the disclosure in a court document that was made public that the FBI, during the search, followed a standard use-of-force policy that prohibits the use of deadly force except when the officer conducting the search has a reasonable belief that the “subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.”

The policy is routine and meant to limit the use of force during searches. Prosecutors noted that the search was intentionally conducted when Trump and his family were away and was co-ordinated with the Secret Service. No force was used.

“The Government’s request is necessary because of several intentionally false and inflammatory statements recently made by Trump that distorted the circumstances under which the Federal Bureau of Investigation planned and executed the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago,” prosecutors on special counsel Jack Smith’s team wrote in asking that Cannon make a restriction on Trump’s statements a condition of his release pending trial.

“Those statements create a grossly misleading impression about the intentions and conduct of federal law enforcement agents – falsely suggesting that they were complicit in a plot to assassinate him – and expose those agents, some of whom will be witnesses at trial, to the risk of threats, violence, and harassment,” they added.

Defense lawyers have objected to the government’s motion, prosecutors wrote.

Asked Thursday at an unrelated event about the claim that the FBI intended to use force against Trump, Attorney General Merrick Garland said: “That allegation is false, and it is extremely dangerous. The document that is being referred to in the allegation is the Justice Department’s standard policy limiting the use of force.”

“As the FBI advises, it is part of the standard operations plan for searches. And in fact, it was even used in consensual search of President Biden’s home,” he added.