Trump urges D.C. court to hold Special Counsel Smith, other prosecutors, in contempt for violating judge's pause order

 January 5, 2024

The D.C. district court handling former President Donald Trump's federal 2020 election-related case was placed on hold last month pending resolution of an appeal on his claims of immunity, but that court-ordered pause has been violated on multiple occasions since then by Special Counsel Jack Smith and his team.

As such, Trump's lawyers on Thursday filed a motion with the court requesting that Smith and two of his top prosecutors be held in contempt and sanctioned for deliberately disobeying the court's order, The New York Times reported.

Smith violated the district court's stay order

When D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected former President Trump's motion for dismissal of the federal election case due to his claim of continued presidential immunity from prosecution for actions taken while he was still in office, the former president quickly appealed the matter to the D.C. Circuit Court as part of the normal appellate procedures.

Special Counsel Smith, conversely, attempted to leapfrog the appeals court and go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court in an admitted effort to speed up the appellate process and adhere to an initially scheduled March 5 trial date -- an abnormal request that was denied by the high court.

In the meantime, Judge Chutkan issued a stay on all of the district court's proceedings, which effectively paused all of the pre-trial deadlines and halted everything until the question of Trump's immunity was resolved by either the Circuit or Supreme Court.

However, despite that ordered pause, Smith and his prosecutors nonetheless proceeded to attempt to keep moving things forward with the production of thousands of pages of additional discovery materials, the production of an exhibits list for the trial, and the submission of a motion that seeks to significantly limit what Trump and his attorneys can argue in his defense during the trial.

Motion seeks contempt order and sanctions against prosecutors

In a 15-page motion filed Thursday, former President Trump's attorneys urged the D.C. district court to order Special Counsel Smith and two of his top prosecutors -- Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom -- to "show cause" for why they should not be held in contempt for blatantly and deliberately violating the court's stay order.

"The Stay Order is clear, straightforward, and unambiguous. All substantive proceedings in this Court are halted. Despite this clarity, the prosecutors began violating the Stay almost immediately," the motion stated and outlined how they ignored Trump's objections and proceeded with the release of the discovery materials and exhibits list, followed shortly thereafter by the motion to restrict Trump's speech during the trial.

That prosecution document was full of "partisan rhetoric" and "mirrors the Biden Administration’s dishonest talking points" about Trump and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in an effort "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."

"Worse, the prosecutors have announced their intention to continue this partisan-driven misconduct indefinitely, effectively converting this Court’s docket into an arm of the Biden Campaign," the motion asserted.

As remedies for those violations, Trump's attorneys asked the judge to order the prosecutors to explain why they should not be held in contempt, be required to withdraw the filed motion and "improper productions," be forbidden from taking any further actions without express pre-approval from the court, and be compelled to pay any legal fees incurred in responding to the "improper productions and filings."

Trump campaign calls out prosecutors for violating court order

In a statement issued on Thursday, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said, "President Trump has filed a powerhouse motion to hold Crooked Joe Biden’s henchman, Deranged Jack Smith, in contempt of Court for repeatedly violating the stay order in the Washington DC J6 Witch Hunt."

"Smith was ordered to not take any further action in the trial court until the Presidential Immunity issue is resolved, which should be a full dismissal of this 'case' because President Trump was carrying out his duty as President to investigate the Rigged and Stolen 2020 Presidential Election," the statement continued.

"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," Cheung added. "As a result, President Trump is seeking to hold Deranged Jack in contempt of Court. No prosecutor is above the law."

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