Lawyers for Trump Seek Contempt Charges Against Special Counsel Smith

Lawyers representing former President Donald Trump are pushing for special counsel Jack Smith’s team to be held in contempt, alleging that the prosecutors violated a judge’s order by advancing the 2020 election interference case during a temporary hold last month. Trump’s attorneys assert that Smith and two prosecutors should face contempt charges for providing the defense with thousands of pages of evidence and an exhibit list while the case was on hold, and for filing a motion filled with what they deem as “partisan rhetoric” and “false claims” over a week later.

The motion accuses the prosecutors of attempting to exploit the temporary pause to disseminate political propaganda, recognizing that Trump would be relieved of litigation burdens during this period. Trump’s legal team contends that the prosecutors intend to continue this alleged misconduct indefinitely, essentially turning the court’s docket into an extension of the Biden Campaign.

While Smith’s spokesperson refrained from commenting on the motion, it was disclosed that Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors have discussed the sanctions request, with prosecutors expressing their objections.

This contempt motion exposes the underlying tension between the prosecution and defense in the landmark case charging Trump with attempting to overturn the 2020 election results. The clash also highlights the conflicting interests between Smith’s team, keen on maintaining the trial schedule for March 4, and Trump’s attempts to delay the prosecution, possibly until after the November election, where he is the leading Republican candidate.

The core issue revolves around a December 13 order from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, which temporarily halted the case after Trump appealed an earlier ruling rejecting his claims of immunity from prosecution. Chutkan’s order suggested that further proceedings imposing burdens on Trump were automatically stayed, but it did not explicitly bar court filings or information sharing between prosecutors and the defense.

Trump’s defense argues that Smith’s team should face consequences for progressing the case during the pause by producing extensive potential evidence. They also object to a motion from Smith’s team that sought to limit Trump’s ability to raise certain political issues before the jury.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is scheduled to hear arguments regarding Trump’s immunity on Tuesday, with the outcome expected to influence the fate and timing of the case. In addition to seeking contempt charges, Trump’s lawyers request court permission for future filings, reimbursement for legal fees, and other expenses incurred during the prosecutors’ alleged improper actions.

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