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Trump Seeks for Judge in Jan. 6th Trial to Hold Jack Smith in Contempt

Legal Showdown: Trump Lawyers Push for Sanctions Against Special Counsel


The legal representatives of the United States’ 45th President, Donald Trump, recently advocated for severe punitive measures, including the possibility of contempt, against Special Counsel Jack Smith and his office’s attorneys for continuing to submit case documents in the face of a stay order.

The American judicial system put a hold on the case following an appeal, lodged by Trump, against Judge Tanya Chutkan’s ruling. This ruling disputed the former President’s claim to diplomatic immunity, which he argued should safeguard him from legal prosecution.

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The Trump team was forceful in their critique of Smith and his team’s proceedings: ‘The Stay Order is unclouded, absolute, and unequivocal. All significant processes in this Court are ceased,’ they wrote. Yet, the representatives for the special counsel persisted in violating what was seen as a categorical halt in proceedings.

In answer to this perceived transgression, Trump’s legal team advocated for a two-fold approach. They requested that Judge Chutkan intervene to halt any further submissions from Smith and his team, as well as demand the withdrawal of all submissions post stay order. A potential sanction, proposed by the Trump team, was to have Smith and his staff account for a portion of Trump’s legal fees.

The Trump team’s powerful statement reads, ‘The Court must not permit the prosecutors to continue to function lawlessly, in outright rejection of well-established norms and this Court’s supremacy. The Requested Sanctions are fitting and likely to impede any further infractions.’ They further highlighted that the court holds the leverage to impose harsher sanctions, including termination of the case if necessary.

The charges against Trump are various but are primarily focused on conspiracy to defraud the US and obstruct an official procedure. Trump, in response, has entered a plea of not guilty. Further, his legal representatives state that Smith’s team are exploiting the stay to disseminate political propaganda, a move they claim damages the integrity of the judicial process.

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The D.C. Court of Appeals hinted that it may deliberate on a number of issues, including the legality of Smith’s appointment and the timing of Trump’s immunity appeal. The court released an order guiding all parties involved to be prepared to contend with ‘discrete issues’ spotlighted in amicus briefs. These discussions would ensue during oral arguments scheduled for early 2022.

The discussions in the upcoming arguments revolve around Trump’s bid to dismiss his 2020 election case by dint of presidential immunity. A few of the briefs question the constitutionality of Special Counsel Smith’s appointment, while others propose that Trump should reserve the immunity challenge until after a potential conviction.

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An amicus brief was submitted by Edwin Meese III, a former U.S. Attorney General, and law professors Steven Calabresi and Gary Lawson. The brief argued that neither constitutional provision nor statute empowers the AG to install ‘a private citizen possessing extraordinary criminal law enforcement power under the title of Special Counsel.’ They elaborated in their brief, stating Smith was ‘a modern example of the naked emperor,’ and, if improperly appointed, would lack the authority to represent the United States.

Simultaneously, the organization American Oversight submitted a brief advocating that Trump’s call for immunity is premature, asserting that, in line with Supreme Court precedent, a criminal defendant cannot bring up an immunity claim before conviction without an absolute statutory or constitutional guarantee that precludes a trial.

The Daily Caller further pointed out that sixteen ex-government officials and constitutional experts, including former Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush, Brad Berenson, and Olivia Troye, the former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Special Advisor to Mike Pence, submitted a brief that fundamentally disagreed with Trump’s position. They argued that the type of immunity Trump seeks would drastically hinder the current President’s power to faithfully execute laws that prohibit obstruction of federal elections.

Last month’s failure of Smith’s appeal to hear Trump’s immunity claim before the appeals court, as well as the federal judge overseeing his Jan. 6 ‘election interference’ case, Tanya Chutkan, discrediting Trump’s request to discard his case on the same claim, showed the resilience of the judicial system in keeping a check on executive power.

Judge Chutkan had previously postponed Trump’s trial, initially slated for a spring start. This came as result of her ruling which halted ‘any further proceedings that would move this case towards trial or impose additional burdens of litigation on the defendant.’

The unfolding scenario has raised questions about the sanctity of the judicial process, particularly in instances involving executive office. With further proceedings on hold, the case promises to offer critical insights into the future dynamics of executive power and the rule of law in the U.S.


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