Jack Smith has a new Trump request for Aileen Cannon


Special Counsel Jack Smith has asked Judge Aileen Cannon to bar former President Donald Trump from speaking about law enforcement after he suggested that the FBI was planning to assassinate him while searching Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.

A Trump campaign email sent to supporters earlier this week claimed that FBI agents were “authorized to shoot” Trump and “itching to do the unthinkable” during the raid, while the former president also suggested in a series of Truth Social posts that the Department of Justice (DOJ) under President Joe Biden had authorized his assassination.

Smith, whose federal investigations of Trump resulted in two different criminal indictments last year, asked Cannon to change the “conditions of release” for the former president due to his allegations about the FBI, in a motion filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Friday.

Cannon, a Trump appointee who has been heavily criticized for a series of rulings favoring the ex-president, is overseeing the federal case regarding Trump’s post-presidency handling of classified and other sensitive government documents. Smith’s filing urged Cannon to gag Trump due to the “unacceptable risk” to law enforcement agents involved in his case.

Special Counsel Jack Smith is pictured on the left, former President Donald Trump is shown on the right, and Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing Trump’s federal documents case, is featured in the center inset…


Drew Angerer; Steven Ferdman/GC Images; UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

The motion argues that “several intentionally false and inflammatory statements” recently made about the August 2022 raid by Trump “distort the circumstances under which the Federal Bureau of Investigation planned and executed the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.”

“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,” the motion reads.

Smith’s filing goes on to argue an assassination plot did not exist merely because the FBI conducted the raid under the DOJ’s standard “use of force” policy, with the special counsel writing that the inclusion of the policy “is routine practice to restrict the use of force, and it is attached to countless warrants across the country.”

“Trump’s repeated mischaracterization of these facts in widely distributed messages as an attempt to kill him, his family, and Secret Service agents has endangered law enforcement officers involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case and threatened the integrity of these proceedings,” the motion continues.

“A restriction prohibiting future similar statements does not restrict legitimate speech,” it concludes. “Trump’s conditions of release should therefore be modified to prohibit similar communications going forward.”

In an emailed statement to Newsweek, Trump campaign Communications Director Steven Cheung said the motion was evidence that “Crooked Joe Biden and his Hacks and Thugs are obsessed with trying to deprive President Trump and all American voters of their First Amendment rights.”

“Repeated attempts to silence President Trump during the presidential campaign are blatant attempts to interfere in the election,” Cheung added. “They are last ditch efforts of desperate Democrat Radicals running a losing campaign for a failed president.”

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance argued in a series of posts to X, formerly Twitter, on Friday night that “Trump lies whenever it suits him,” and that Cannon should gag the former president because his claims about the Mar-a-Lago raid “are dangerous” to FBI agents and their families.

“Judge Cannon should modify Trump’s conditions of release,” Cannon wrote. “If she won’t, the Special Counsel’s office will have to pursue all possible means to prevent this Defendant from threatening law enforcement officers involved in the prosecution, just like they would in any other case.”

Cannon oversaw a hearing in the case earlier this week that devolved into a shouting match at one point after an attorney for Trump co-defendant Walt Nauta accused prosecutors of pressuring him to convince his client to cooperate with the DOJ.

Additional hearings and meetings intended to resolve pretrial issues in the case are expected to occur until late July, although it is unclear when the trial itself will begin, with Cannon having indefinitely postponed the proceedings earlier this year.

Update 05/24/24, 10:29 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to include a statement from Cheung and additional context.