Special counsel Jack Smith said Tuesday that former President Donald Trump’s ongoing attacks against prosecutors and judges threatened to influence potential jurors in his 2020 election interference case.
Smith’s team filed documents in court saying Trump has made “daily extrajudicial statements that threaten to prejudice the jury pool,” referencing the former president’s repeated statements on social media. Trump, who was indicted by a federal grand jury over his attempted coup to remain in office, has repeatedly called Smith “deranged” and attacked the judge assigned to the case, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, as “highly partisan” and “unfair.”
Chutkan warned Trump and his attorneys last month against making any “inflammatory” comments about his prosecution, adding that doing so would only add to the “urgency … that we proceed to a trial quickly.”
“I caution you and your client to take special care in your public statements about this case,” the judge told his lawyer in August. “I will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the integrity of these proceedings.”
But Trump has continued his attacks. On Tuesday, the former president posted on his Truth Social platform an attack on the special counsel for an “unchecked and insane aggression” against him.
Chutkan recently set a trial date for March 4, 2024, six months away, saying the public had the right to a swift case. Trump’s legal team had argued any prosecution should be pushed back for years, beyond any bid for office or reelection to the White House.
“I want to note here that setting a trial date does not depend and should not depend on the defendant’s personal or professional obligations,” the judge said last week.