Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a South Dakota Republican party rally in Rapid City, South Dakota, US on September 8, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump on Friday attacked special counsel Jack Smith as a “deranged” prosecutor after his office sought restrictions on what the former president can say about his federal election interference case.
“He’s a crazy person,” he said of Smith, who led two federal investigations into Trump that resulted in criminal indictments.
Trump, who is the leading Republican candidate for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination, claimed in a speech Friday night that Smith “wanted to take away my rights under the First Amendment.”
“He wants to take away my right to speak freely and openly,” Trump said at a conference of a conservative Christian women’s organization in Washington, DC
Trump has previously attacked Smith in similar terms, but his latest broadside came hours after Smith asked US District Judge Tanya Chutkan for a partial gag order in the DC election case.
Trump was indicted on four criminal counts in that case, alleging that he engaged in multiple conspiracies to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Trump’s repeated attacks on the court, prosecutors, prospective witnesses and the citizens of DC threaten to “undermine the integrity of these proceedings and prejudice the jury,” Smith wrote in a court appearance.
The special counsel said he was seeking “a narrow, well-defined restriction” on “specifically malicious extrajudicial statements.”
Those include statements about the “identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses,” as well as “statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential juror that are prejudicial and inflammatory, or frightening,” Smith wrote.
“They want to silence me because I will never let them silence you,” Trump told the DC crowd.
Smith’s motion cited numerous social media posts from Trump’s Truth Social account railing against Chutkan, the prosecutors and the city of DC itself. The filing also accused Trump of spreading “knowingly false allegations of misconduct” against a prosecutor in the special counsel’s office who was working on Trump’s other federal criminal case in Florida.
Trump said the prosecutor went to the White House for “the wrong reasons” before Trump was indicted in that case, which centered on his retention of classified national defense records after he was no longer president.
But “as the defendant knew,” the prosecutor “conducted a routine investigative interview of a career military officer at that officer’s duty station — the White House,” Smith wrote, calling the Trump claimed otherwise “an attempt to prejudice the public and the venire before trial.”
The judge has not yet ruled on Smith’s request, which if enacted could restrict Trump from impeaching the special counsel himself.
The speech was the first of two that Trump is scheduled to make in DC on Friday night. She began speaking at the first event, a gathering of the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, about 40 minutes past her scheduled 7:15 pm ET start time, likely delaying her second appearance at the Family Research Council’s annual summit, one yet. religious conservative group.
The trip marks the first time Trump has returned to the nation’s capital since early last month, when he appeared at the E. Barrett Prettyman US Courthouse to plead not guilty in a federal election case.