Former President Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that retired U.S. Army General Mark Milley should be executed for “treason” was cited by special counsel Jack Smith as another reason for issuing a gag order in Trump’s federal election interference trial.
In a Truth Social post last week, Trump said Americans should “celebrate” Milley’s impending retirement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He then said that the general would have been executed for treason in “times gone by” as Milley reportedly called his Chinese counterpart in 2020 and promised to warn China if Trump launched an attack.
Smith, who in a motion filed earlier this month asked U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to apply a “narrowly tailored” gag order against Trump, cited the post in a new court submission on Friday as an example of the ex-president’s penchant for making “public statements about witnesses” that could weigh on the jury and “significantly prejudice a fair trial.”
“On September 22, defendant falsely claimed on Truth Social that the retiring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a witness cited in the indictment, had committed treason and suggested that he should be executed,” Smiths said file while sharing a screenshot of Trump’s post.
Newsweek He emailed Trump’s office Friday evening for comment.
Smith’s request was in response to a request from Trump’s legal team earlier this week. Trump’s team argued Monday that Chutkan should not comply with the silence order, claiming it was “nothing more than a blatant attempt by the Biden administration to unlawfully silence its most prominent political opponent.”
Friday’s filing rejects that argument, with Smith writing that Trump’s status as the leading Republican candidate in the United States means he is entitled to “special treatment” and “a free hand to publicly intimidate witnesses and denigrate the court, the citizens of this district and.” of prosecutors” are calling for the 2024 presidential election.
“But in this case, Donald J. Trump is a criminal defendant like any other,” Smith writes. “The defendant should not be allowed to continue to litigate this case in the court of public opinion rather than in court, thereby undermining the fairness and integrity of these proceedings.”
Trump pleaded not guilty to all four counts in the D.C. case and 87 additional offenses in his three other criminal indictments. He has repeatedly claimed that all of his legal problems amount to “election interference” and political “persecution.”
Milley, who is stepping down on Sunday from his Trump-appointed role as the country’s top military officer, said this week that he had taken “safeguards” to protect himself and his family in light of the former president’s suggestion that the threat threatens Death penalty.
The general also suggested that Trump was a “would-be dictator” as he delivered his farewell speech on Friday, prompting the ex-president to respond with another derogatory post about him on Truth Social shortly afterward.
The execution comment was far from the only reason Smith gave for issuing the gag order. The special counsel’s original filing lays out a “pattern” of threats from Trump, with Smith suggesting that Trump’s public statements and social media activity may encourage his supporters to “continue to engage in threats and harassment against his targets.”