Trump Lawyers Argue Barring Attacks on F.B.I. Would Censor ‘Political Speech’

Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump pushed back on Friday night in an aggressive — and at times misleading — way against an effort to curb his public attacks on the F.B.I. agents working on his classified documents case in Florida.

In a 20-page court filing, the lawyers assailed prosecutors in the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, for seeking to limit Mr. Trump’s remarks about the F.B.I. on the eve of two consequential political events: the first presidential debate, scheduled for June 27, and the Republican National Convention, set to start on July 15.

“The motion is a naked effort to impose totalitarian censorship of core political speech, under threat of incarceration, in a clear attempt to silence President Trump’s arguments to the American people about the outrageous nature of this investigation and prosecution,” the lawyers wrote.

The dispute began last month when Mr. Smith’s team asked Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who is overseeing the case, to revise Mr. Trump’s conditions of release to bar him from making any public remarks that might endanger agents involved in the proceeding.

The request came days after Mr. Trump made a series of blatantly false statements, claiming that the F.B.I. had been prepared to shoot him when agents executed a search warrant in August 2022 at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida. In that search, the agents discovered more than 100 classified documents. Mr. Trump is now charged with illegally retaining classified information and obstructing the government’s attempts to retrieve it.

The distortions arose from a gross mischaracterization by the former president of a recently unsealed order for the Mar-a-Lago search that included boilerplate language intended to limit the use of deadly force when agents execute warrants.

AdvertisementThe new Emirates Premium Economy has arrived on the latest Emirates A380 Emirates Get the best value from your summer holiday with exclusive offers and discounts across Dubai and the UAE with Emirates Pass