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The US Department of Justice’s special counsel, Jack Smith, is advising a federal judge to deny Donald Trump’s request to have his upcoming trial, which involves charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, televised.
The former president’s attorneys took no position on an earlier long-shot request from a group of media outlets asking to broadcast the trial, but a filing on 10 November asked for “sunlight” and accused federal prosecutors of trying to “continue this travesty in darkness”.
John Lauro stated in a recent filing that everyone in America and beyond should be able to personally witness the case and see for themselves if there is a trial, where President Trump will clear himself of these unfounded and politically driven accusations.
On November 13, Mr. Smith’s office filed a notification stating that Mr. Trump’s delayed response is an obvious attempt to request preferential treatment in order to use the public’s opinion as a courtroom and turn his trial into a spectacle for the media.
According to the filing, this would prevent the display of events and the associated dangers of influencing witnesses, which is the intended purpose of the longstanding ban on broadcasting in the courtroom.
A document consisting of four pages has been submitted to US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, stating that Mr. Trump has not presented any legal arguments or case law to justify his request for a trial that differs from that of other federal criminal defendants.
According to the document, his alleged fascination with “sunlight” does not fix the issue. In fact, the defendant disregards the fact that high-profile federal criminal trials have always followed the rule against broadcasting – yet they still receive extensive and thorough media coverage of the proceedings.
President Trump, who has four criminal trials on the horizon, including two in federal court, is alleged to have worked with others to undermine Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election. This scheme was based on false information, conspiracy theories, and invalid legal arguments that even his own advisors have refuted.
The defendant has denied guilt and his lawyers have submitted requests to dismiss the charges entirely based on constitutional principles and the concept of “absolute presidential immunity.”
The team of Mr. Smith has cautioned that he aims to take advantage of a “festive atmosphere” in order to “benefit by diverting attention away from the accusations against him,” similar to tactics used by numerous defendants in fraud cases.
The leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination has consistently used his criminal charges and lawsuits as a means of raising funds for his campaign. He has garnered millions of dollars from his supporters by portraying himself as a target of a politically driven plot against him.
During his court case for fraud accusations in New York City, he utilized the presence of numerous reporters outside the courtroom to express his anger towards the trial, the judge overseeing it, the state’s attorney general who is suing him, and the court staff.
During his testimony in the case on November 6, he utilized similar language to what he uses in his campaign fundraising messages, on his social media platform Truth Social, and at his campaign rallies.
The media is requesting the court to review a long-standing ban on broadcasting federal trials, citing outdatedness and invoking First Amendment rights.
The federal courts system’s policymaking body announced last month that it will examine the possibility of airing federal trials, but any potential modifications would likely require a significant amount of time to be put into effect.