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(WASHINGTON) — Attorneys for Donald Trump say they oppose a request from special counsel Jack Smith for a gag order in the federal election interference case against the former president.

Smith earlier this month asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to impose a “narrowly tailored” order restricting Trump from making public statements that Smith argued could “present a serious and substantial danger of prejudicing” the case.

In an overnight court filing filed in response, Trump’s attorneys said they vehemently oppose the request, calling it an affront to Trump’s First Amendment rights and accusing Smith’s team of having political motivations due to Trump’s strong standing in the 2024 presidential race.

“Following these efforts to poison President Trump’s defense, the prosecution now asks the Court to take the extraordinary step of stripping President Trump of his First Amendment freedoms during the most important months of his campaign against President Biden,” the filing said. “The Court should reject this transparent gamesmanship and deny the motion entirely.”

Smith’s team has until Saturday to respond. The judge will then likely set oral arguments on the issue.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called “fake electors,” using the Justice Department to conduct “sham election crime investigations,” trying to enlist the vice president to “alter the election results,” and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged — all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.

In its request for a gag order, Smith’s office accused Trump of engaging in a sweeping campaign of “disinformation” and harassment intended to intimidate witnesses, prosecutors and others involved in the prosecution he is facing.

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