Jack Smith asks court to ban Trump from introducing evidence of Jan. 6 security failures

Special prosecutor claims evidence that Trump statements are protected by free speech, that police mishandled security and are "partisan political attacks."

Published: December 27, 2023 12:06pm

Updated: December 27, 2023 12:36pm

Special Counsel Jack Smith's office asked a federal judge Wednesday to prevent former President Donald Trump from introducing evidence at his Jan. 6 criminal trial concerning selective prosecution and security failures that occurred at the Capitol or making arguments his actions were protected by the First Amendment, suggesting such a defense amounted to politics.

Trump has tried "to inject into this case partisan political attacks and irrelevant and prejudicial issues that have no place in a jury trial," Senior Assistant Special Counsel Molly Gaston wrote in the court filing.

The special counsel is seeking to bar Trump from claiming that he is being selectively prosecuted and introducing evidence supporting such allegations. 

While the court can disregard Trump's claims, the jury may not, Gaston said. 

"To ensure that the jury remains focused on its fact-finding duty and applies the law as instructed by the Court, the defendant’s improper evidence and argument should be excluded," she also wrote. 

Specifically, Smith's team is seeking to ban Trump from introducing evidence that Capitol Police and Washington D.C. officials engaged in security failures that allowed the riot to unfold, even though Congress has introduced such evidence and testimony affirming those failures. 

"Throughout this litigation, and in his public comments, the defendant has sought to blame others for the attack on the Capitol for which he is responsible, including law enforcement, military forces, unidentified secret agents, and foreign influence," the prosecutors' filing said. "The defendant should be precluded from introducing within the courtroom the disinformation he has propagated outside of it."

The trial is separate from Trump's other federal criminal trial on the alleged mishandling of classified documents and from the former president's trial in Georgia on state criminal charges related to the 2020 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in every criminal case he is currently facing.

He is scheduled to go to trial in March 2024, but the date may change as Trump is attempting to have the case tossed through a federal appeals process. 

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