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Donald Trump lands parting shots ahead of potential gag order

Donald Trump has lashed out at the judge and prosecutor in his election interference case, just hours before Judge Tanya Chutkan considers whether to place Trump under a gag order.

Trump accused both Chutkan and the Department of Justice special counsel, Jack Smith, of being “political hacks and thugs” who are guilty of election interference.

Both Trump’s lawyers and Smith’s prosecution team are due before Judge Chutkan today to argue over a proposed gag order against the former president.

On the social media platform Truth Social on Sunday night, Trump attacked “a Leaking, Crooked and Deranged Prosecutor, Jack Smith, who has a terrible record of failure” asking “a highly partisan Obama appointed Judge, Tanya Chutkan, who should recuse herself based on the horrible things she has said, to silence me.”

Trump wrote that this is being done “through the use of a powerful GAG ORDER, making it impossible for me to criticize those who are doing the silencing, namely Crooked Joe Biden, and his corrupt and weaponized DOJ & FBI.”

“They want to take away my First Amendment rights, and my ability to both campaign and defend myself. In other words, they want to cheat and interfere in the 2024 Presidential Election.”

Trump went on to claim that “nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before. It is strictly Banana Republic kind of ‘stuff.’ These political Hacks and Thugs are destroying our Country. Let’s see what happens on Monday in Judge Chutkan’s courtroom. Will America survive, or not? I’ll be campaigning in the Great State of Iowa, where I am leading by 50 Points!!!”

Prosecutors claim in legal submissions that Trump’s outbursts are an attempt to influence the potential jury pool.

Trump’s lawyers claim in their submissions that the proposed gag order is an attempt to silence the former president.

The judge overseeing Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York has already imposed an order on Trump to stop him criticizing court staff after Trump’s social media attacks on the judge’s principal clerk.

Prosecutors want Chutkan to stop Trump making comments “that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case,” including criticizing witnesses, attorneys and other people involved.

Judge Chutkan has said Trump doesn’t have to attend Monday’s hearing and she hasn’t said whether she will decide on the gagging order today.

Chutkan had already denied Trump’s request that she recuse herself from the case, in which Trump is accused of trying to overturn the 2020 election result. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Trump has frequently used social media to attack Chutkan, prosecutors, likely witnesses and others despite her warnings that his comments could force her to move the trial, which is currently scheduled to begin in March.

Prosecutors have said their proposal wouldn’t affect Trump’s ability to campaign or prevent him from declaring his innocence. In court papers, they wrote that Trump is demanding “special treatment” by claiming “he should have free rein to publicly intimidate witnesses.”

“In this case, Donald J. Trump is a criminal defendant like any other,” their legal submission states.

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