Trump Attorney Responds to Jack Smith Filing 'Should Be Scared'
Trump Attorney Responds to Jack Smith Filing 'Should Be Scared'

By Jack Phillips

An attorney for former President Donald Trump responded to a recent court filing that called for the former president to be banned from making “political attacks” during his election-related trial.

“This is a due process violation,” Trump attorney Alina Habba told Newsmax on Thursday, adding that the filing this week shows special counsel Jack Smith is “running scared” and “should be scared.”

“They do it in the form of a gag order,” she added. “He doesn’t want, basically, any defense being brought by the defense. It’s what happened with the last trial I tried. It’s what will happen with the next one I try.”

In court papers filed Wednesday, the special counsel’s office said President Trump should be barred from telling jurors that he is being selectively prosecuted by federal officials during his Washington trial. Specifically, the filing asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case and trial, to rule that the former president cannot say in court that he is being prosecuted for political reasons, saying that it could be prejudicial.

The former president, during public appearances and on Truth Social, has repeatedly said that the election case and three other cases against him are tantamount to election interference to prevent him from seeking the White House again. Recent polls have shown President Trump has a significant advantage over his GOP rivals in the 2024 race at the national level.

“Through public statements, filings, and argument in hearings before the court, the defense has attempted to inject into this case partisan political attacks and irrelevant and prejudicial issues that have no place in a jury trial,” lawyers working for Mr. Smith wrote. “Although the court can recognize these efforts for what they are and disregard them, the jury—if subjected to them—may not.”

The trial is due to start on March 4, or one day before the Super Tuesday nominating contest for the 2024 presidential election. Attorneys for President Trump have not filed a response yet to prosecutors’ claims in court.

But, according to Ms. Habba, who serves as a spokesperson for the former president on legal matters, told Newsmax that the Smith team is arguing a defendant “cannot put your own defense.” She added, “That’s like saying you can’t have an expert on the [New York Attorney General] Letitia James case or gagging his lawyers, which has happened to me. I was gagged in the courtroom. I could not put on a defense on the record for the appellate division. I couldn’t say things that needed to be said. That is what our country has come to.”

With the court filing and Mr. Smith’s petition to the Supreme Court asking the justices to rule on whether President Trump has immunity from prosecution in the case, Ms. Habba suggested that it means prosecutors are rushing to try and convict the former president before the election.

“The only urgency that Jack Smith has, and all of them have, is election interference, and trying to stop him before November 2024, which clearly they cannot do,” she said. “If you look at the polls, the American people the independents are switching because they see what is happening, and they’re afraid.”

Ms. Habba continued: “I’m a spokeswoman. I’m a lawyer. I am an advocate, and we will handle this like we handle everything else that would be appropriate; with vigor and we’ll take appropriate measures that are in place that we hope will still be in place.”

Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media about an indictment of former President Donald Trump, at an office of the Department of Justice in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023. (AP Photo)

President Trump responded on Wednesday by accusing the Smith team of “ignoring the law and clear instructions” from the judge by filing a motion at a time when the case was on pause. He called the motion “pathetic” and an “illegal” effort to deprive him of his free speech rights at trial by taking away his right to argue that the case is a “political persecution.”

Earlier, his attorneys had earlier asked Judge Chutkan, an Obama appointee, to dismiss the case on the grounds that the indictment was vindictive and selective. In their motion Wednesday, prosecutors said that the request should not only be denied but President Trump’s lawyers should be prohibited from making that argument to a jury during the trial.

“Although the defendant is entitled to cross-examine the Government’s law enforcement witnesses about matters fairly within the scope of their direct testimony, he cannot raise wholly irrelevant topics in an effort to confuse and distract the jury,” prosecutors wrote Wednesday. “Much as the defendant would like it otherwise, this trial should be about the facts and the law, not politics.”

The motion also seeks to prevent Trump from telling jurors about the potential punishment he could face if convicted, as well as saying law enforcement agencies were not prepared in advance of the Jan. 6, 2021, breach at the U.S. Capitol.

They also said he should not be permitted to introduce any evidence about foreign influence in the 2020 race, saying it would be an “irrelevant and confusing sideshow.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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