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Special Counsel Warns of Potential Jury Bias Due to Trump’s Statements on Federal Election Subversion Case

The Justice Department’s special counsel, Jack Smith, has issued a warning regarding the potential bias of the jury pool in the criminal case against former President Donald Trump. Trump’s statements, made on a daily basis, risk tainting the jury pool in Washington. The case charges him with scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump’s comments about the special counsel’s team and U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the case, have been a central issue since the indictment was filed. Prosecutors have expressed concerns about the impact of Trump’s social media posts. Judge Chutkan explicitly warned Trump against making inflammatory remarks that could intimidate witnesses or influence potential jurors.

Trump continued to make posts despite the concerns raised, including sharing a New York Post story about Judge Chutkan on his Truth Social platform. He openly mocked the idea of her being fair in his case. He also attacked Smith, the prosecutor, calling him “deranged” with “unchecked and insane aggression.”

The latest complaint from the Justice Department highlights the extent to which Trump’s social media attacks are testing the patience of prosecutors. They also risk exposing him to sanctions from the judge. The trial date has been set for March 4, 2024, in an effort to keep the case moving. Trump has faced warnings in other cases as well, with a condition of his release in a separate prosecution in Atlanta being that he refrains from intimidating co-defendants, witnesses, or victims.

The issue resurfaced in a dispute over a filing that the Justice Department sought to make under seal, suggesting it concerned sensitive information. Defense lawyers objected, stating that they were entitled to time to review the filings and any proposed sealed exhibits by the Justice Department. Prosecutors argued that it would be untenable for the court to delay decision-making on every ordinary filing that refers to sensitive materials. They emphasized that Trump’s daily extrajudicial statements threatened to prejudice the jury pool in the case.

Judge Chutkan agreed that the Trump team should have time to respond to the Justice Department’s filings and set deadlines for next week.

In addition to the federal election subversion case, Trump faces three other prosecutions. He is charged with plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia, faces federal charges of illegally hoarding classified documents, and is accused of falsifying business records in New York related to a hush money payment to a porn actor.

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