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Trump demands protective order against ‘deranged’ Jack Smith

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Updated: 17:53 BST, 7 August 2023

Former President Donald Trump hit back at Special Counsel Jack Smith on Monday morning accusing him of leaking case details and demanding that he face a protective order.

Trump pleaded not guilty in court last week to four federal charges related to his effort to overturn the 2020 election result.

On Friday, Smith asked a Washington, D.C., court for an order barring Trump and his lawyers from sharing discovery materials with unauthorized people.

He said a post by Trump on social media suggested the former president might publicly reveal secret material obtained from prosecutors as the case proceeds.

Trump’s lawyers have until 5pm on Monday to respond.

Special Counsel Jack Smith on Friday sought a protective order to prevent former President Donald Trump and his team sharing discovery materials with unauthorized people

Trump’s legal team has until 5pm Monday to respond. The former president offered his response earlier, claiming it would threaten his right to free speech

But Trump took to his own Truth Social platform to issue his own response earlier in the day. 

‘No, I shouldn’t have a protective order placed on me because it would impinge upon my right to FREE SPEECH,’ he wrote. 

‘Deranged Jack Smith and the Department of Injustice should, however, because they are illegally “leaking” all over the place!’

He offered no evidence that Smith or his team had leaked details of the case. 

Trump — who is favorite to win the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination — also faces allegations of trying to intimidate witnesses being lined-up to testify against him. 

On Friday he posted: ‘IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU.’

Within hours, Smith used it to demand a protective order, offering it as evidence that Trump was determined to attack his critics by any means necessary. 

He said measures must be taken to ensure that Trump did not use ‘discovery’ materials — the evidence against them — in an inappropriate way. 

Trump’s message on Friday triggered a legal move by the special counsel in the case

‘All the proposed order seeks to prevent is the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including to the public,’ Smith wrote.

‘Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys and others associated with legal matters pending against him.

‘And in recent days, regarding this case, the defendant has issued multiple posts – either specifically or by implication – including the following, which the defendant posted just hours ago.’

Smith then included a screenshot of the Truth Social post.

A Trump spokesperson said the post was ‘political speech’ and dismissed claims that it was threatening.

‘What President Trump didn’t do is direct Vice President Pence to do anything. He asked him in an aspirational way,’ attorney John Lauro told CNN Sunday morning

‘The Truth post cited is the definition of political speech and was in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch Brothers and the Club for No Growth,’ they said.

After making his Truth Social threat, Trump on Friday night was on stage at a rally in Montgomery, Alabama, where he mocked Smith.

‘Deranged Jack Smith. Doesn’t he look deranged?’ Trump asked the crowd. 

‘You’ve seen the pictures with the purple robe. He’s a deranged human being. 

‘Somebody said you should treat him nicer, maybe he’d be nice. But let me tell you.  

‘This guy is a lost soul. Bad guy. He’s a deranged sick person.’

One of Trump’s lawyers hit the Sunday news shows to defend his client against charges that he conspired to defraud the U.S. by preventing Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden’s victory, depriving U.S. voters of their right to a fair election.

‘Every single thing that President Trump is being prosecuted for involved aspirational asks: Asking state legislatures, asking state governors, asking state electoral officials to do the right thing,’ he told Fox News

‘In fact, even asking Vice President Pence was protected by free speech.’