Trump vows to keep talking about criminal cases despite prosecutors pushing for protective order


WINDHAM, N.H. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday kept up his attacks on special counsel Jack Smith and vowed to continue talking about his criminal cases even as prosecutors sought a protective order to limit the evidence that Trump and his team could share.

In the early-voting state of New Hampshire, Trump assailed Smith as a “thug prosecutor” and a “deranged guy” a week after being indicted on felony charges for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The former president lobbed the insults at Smith just days after the Department of Justice asked a judge to approve a protective order stopping Trump from publicly disclosing evidence. Federal prosecutors contend that Trump is seeking to “try the case in the media rather than in the courtroom.”

The judge overseeing the case has scheduled a hearing over the protective order for Friday morning. Trump, after his rally on Tuesday, made a post on his social media network attacking the judge, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that the prospective order is too broad and would restrict his First Amendment rights of free speech, something Trump echoed on stage Tuesday.

“I will talk about it. They’re not taking away my First Amendment,” Trump said, speaking to supporters during a rally at a high school in the southeastern New Hampshire town of Windham.

The former president said he needs to be able to respond to reporters’ questions about the case on the campaign trail — something he has not made a practice of doing — and cited the movie “2000 Mules,” which made various debunked claims about mail ballots, drop boxes, and ballot collection in the 2020 presidential election.

“All of this will come up during this trial,” Trump said.

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