After his court date in Washington, a statement on social media brought new legal trouble to former US President Donald Trump. “If you follow me, I will follow you,” wrote the Republican on the online platform Truth Social, which he co-founded, on Friday, just one day after the indictment against him was read out in the US capital. Special Counsel Jack Smith believes Trump’s statement is directed against witnesses, judges and attorneys involved in the criminal case surrounding Trump’s attempted vote fraud and the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Fears Trump threatens witnesses
According to Smith, Trump’s statement is evidence that Trump cannot be relied upon to keep secret confidential information disclosed to him during the course of the proceedings. A request by the special counsel filed with the court on Friday evening (local time) said there was a risk that Trump would use evidence confronted with him to intimidate or threaten witnesses. Smith therefore asked the court to quickly show Trump and his lawyers limits for handling sensitive information.
The judge in charge ordered on Saturday that the ex-president must comment on Smith’s position by Monday afternoon. A spokesman for Trump had recently said in a statement that Trump’s contribution to Truth Social was nothing more than “political speech” and had nothing to do with the case.
Trump sees law enforcement as politically motivated
Trump was reminded at Thursday’s indictment, as part of normal court procedure, that it is a criminal offense to attempt to influence a jury, threaten or bribe a witness or other person.
Trump sees the prosecution against him as politically motivated. The day after the court hearing in Washington, he used both Truth Social and a campaign speech that evening to rant extensively against the crackdown. The 77-year-old, who wants to run again in the 2024 presidential election, is accused of orchestrating a conspiracy against the state. Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday.