Former President Donald Trump lashed out at special counsel Jack Smith on Thursday, accusing him of being in violation of a court order that pauses proceedings in the case against him in which he is accused of allegedly plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The former president’s campaign stated that the 45th commander-in-chief wants to see Smith held in contempt of court for his actions.
The legal team representing Trump noted a stay of the court proceedings granted by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama, after the attorneys filed her rejection of their request to toss out the case.
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Although the appeal, which hinges on presidential immunity and double jeopardy claims, was taken up by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Smith’s team went along making submissions anyway, Trump’s attorneys noted.
Prosecutors violated last month’s stay “almost immediately” by serving thousands of pages of discovery and a “purported” draft exhibit list, the filing said. Despite a “warning” from Trump that he would seek relief if their “malicious conduct” continued, prosecutors then filed a motion filled with “partisan rhetoric, including false claims,” the filing added.
“In this manner, the prosecutors seek to weaponize the Stay to spread political propaganda, knowing that President Trump would not fully respond because the Court relieved him of the burdens of litigation during the Stay,” Trump’s legal team said in a written statement. “Worse, the prosecutors have announced their intention to continue this partisan-driven misconduct indefinitely, effectively converting this Court’s docket into an arm of [President Joe Biden’s re-election] Campaign.”
Trump’s lawyers asked the federal court in Washington, D.C., to order prosecutors to “show cause” for why they should not be held in contempt, be required to withdraw their filings, be forbidden from making future productions without express permission from the court, and assessed monetary sanctions for attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in the response.
Smith’s team refused to provide a comment to the media concerning the situation.
When Chutkan made the order to pause the case, she explained that it would halt “any further proceedings that would move this case towards trial or impose additional burdens of litigation on Defendant.”
However, there were a few caveats to the pause. She made it clear that the deadlines that have been postponed have not been done away with, noting that protective measures, such as the gag order against the former president, would stay in effect.
With the Supreme Court refusing to quickly take up the question of whether presidential immunity provides Trump broad protections against prosecution, a three-judge panel in the federal appeals court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on January 9. The trial is currently set to start on March 4 — one day before Super Tuesday — but that may change depending on how long it takes for the presidential immunity issue to be settled.
“Rather than respect the rule of law, Jack Smith unilaterally decided to disobey the stay order and continue with his harassing litigation, all done in order to keep parroting the pathetic Biden Campaign’s corrupt talking points in the name of election interference,” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung wrote in a statement put out by the former president’s re-election campaign. “As a result, President Trump is seeking to hold Deranged Jack in contempt of Court. No prosecutor is above the law.”