Judge Orders Smith To Stop Filing Substantive Pretrial Motions Amid Pause

After former president and current GOP primary frontrunner Donald Trump’s legal team called out Special Counsel Jack Smith for violating the temporary pause in his January 6 case, Judge Tanya Chutkan has finally ordered Smith to stop filing motions.

Chutkan ordered the pause on legal filings in the case last month after Trump appealed to the Supreme Court over her rejection of his presidential immunity defense. His appeal is currently making its way through the courts, thus causing Smith’s entire case to be halted until the issue can be ruled on.

However, Smith’s team has continued to submit filings in defiance of Chutkan’s order, including a December 27 filing that requested the judge stifle Trump’s First Amendment rights. The special counsel demanded in this filing that Chutkan bar Trump from engaging in “partisan political attacks,” which would effectively hinder his ability to speak on the campaign trail.

Trump’s legal team filed a motion to hold Smith in contempt of court over his refusal to follow the order.

“All substantive proceedings in this court are halted. Despite this clarity, the prosecutors began violating the stay almost immediately,” Trump’s attorney John Lauro wrote in the motion.

Chutkan refused to grant this request, though she did agree to grant another request included in the motion to once again order Smith to halt new substantial filings in the case — essentially ordering him to follow the rules he was supposed to already be following.

In a six-page order, the judge declared that “the parties shall not file any substantive pretrial motions without first seeking leave of court,” according to The Messenger.

She went on to excuse Smith’s actions, claiming that her pause order could have been misinterpreted. Chutkan claimed that the December pause “did not unambiguously forbid the government’s actions” and that the special counsel’s filings have mostly been compatible with the purpose of the pause — adding that the order “appears to have been interpreted differently” by each party and thus required clarification.