UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DONALD J. TRUMP,
CRIMINAL NO. 23-cr-257 (TSC)
GOVERNMENT’S OPPOSED MOTION TO ENSURE THAT EXTRAJUDICIAL STATEMENTS DO NOT PREJUDICE THESE PROCEEDINGS
Since the grand jury returned an indictment in this case, the defendant has repeatedly and widely disseminated public statements attacking the citizens of the District of Columbia, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses. Through his statements, the defendant threatens to undermine the integrity of these proceedings and prejudice the jury pool, in contravention of the “undeviating rule” that in our justice system a jury’s verdict is to “be induced only by evidence and argument in open court, and not by any outside influence.” Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333, 351 (1966) (quotations omitted). In accordance with the Court’s duty to “protect [its] processes from prejudicial outside interferences,” id. at 363, the Government requests that the Court take the following immediate measures to ensure the due administration of justice and a fair and impartial jury: (1) enter a narrowly tailored order pursuant to Local Criminal Rule 57.7(c) that restricts certain prejudicial extrajudicial statements; and (2) enter an order through which the Court can ensure that if either party conducts a jury study involving contact with the citizens of this District, the jury study is conducted in a way that will not prejudice the venire. The Government obtained the defendant’s position from counsel for the defendant, and he opposes this motion.
As set forth in the indictment, after election day in 2020, the defendant launched a disinformation campaign in which he publicly and widely broadcast knowingly false claims that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the presidential election, and that he had actually won. ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 2, 4. In service of his criminal conspiracies, through false public statements, the defendant sought to erode public faith in the administration of the election and intimidate individuals who refuted his lies. ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 2, 28, 31-32, 42, 44, 74, 97, 100, 104, 111. The defendant is now attempting to do the same thing in this criminal case—to undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks on the citizens of this District, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses. The defendant’s conduct presents a “substantial likelihood of material prejudice” to these proceedings, and the Court can and should take steps to restrict such harmful extrajudicial statements. Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030, 1075 (1991).
B. Since the Indictment, the Defendant Has Deployed Misleading and Inflammatory Statements About this Case to Undermine Confidence in the Justice System and Prejudice the Jury Pool
The defendant made clear his intent to issue public attacks related to this case when, the day after his arraignment, he posted a threatening message on Truth Social: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” August 4, 2023.
And he has made good on his threat. Since the indictment in this case, the defendant has spread disparaging and inflammatory public posts on Truth Social on a near-daily basis regarding the citizens of the District of Columbia, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses. Like his previous public disinformation campaign regarding the 2020 presidential election, the defendant’s recent extrajudicial statements are intended to undermine public confidence in an institution—the judicial system—and to undermine confidence in and intimidate individuals—the Court, the jury pool, witnesses, and prosecutors. Below are select examples of the defendant’s disparaging and
inflammatory Truth Social posts.
i. Posts Attacking, Undermining, and Attempting to Intimidate the Court and the Jury Pool
The defendant has posted repeated, inflammatory attacks on the judicial system, the Court, and the citizens of the District of Columbia who comprise the jury pool in this case. The defendant has made baseless claims—cited or inserted below—that the justice system is “rigged”12 against him; that the Court is “a fraud dressed up as a judge in Washington, D.C. who is a radical Obama hack” or is a “biased, Trump-hating judge”;13 and that he cannot get a fair trial from the residents of this “filthy and crime ridden” District that “is over 95% anti-Trump.”14
ii. Posts Attacking, Undermining, and Attempting to Intimidate Prosecutors
Similarly, the defendant has posted false and disparaging claims regarding the Department of Justice and prosecutors in the Special Counsel’s Office in an attempt to undermine confidence in the justice system and prejudice the jury pool against the Government in advance of trial. In a video posted to Truth Social, the defendant called the Special Counsel’s Office a “team of thugs.”15
Consistent with its obligations to guard the integrity of these proceedings and prevent prejudice to the jury pool, while respecting the defendant’s First Amendment rights, the Court should enter the proposed orders imposing certain narrow restrictions on the parties’ public
statements regarding this case and governing any jury studies the parties may undertake. Respectfully submitted,
Source material can be found at this site.