US Judge Imposes Partial Gag Order on Trump – U.S. federal judge in Washington, Judge Tanya Chutkan, issued a partial gag order against former President Donald Trump. This order limits his ability to make statements about his upcoming trial regarding allegations of attempting to overturn his 2020 election loss. Under this order, Trump is prohibited from launching attacks against prosecutors, potential witnesses, and the judge’s staff.
The request for this gag order came from Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, who argued that Trump’s continuous criticisms of him, the judge, and possible witnesses could erode public trust in the legal system and potentially intimidate prospective jurors. The trial is scheduled to commence in March.
It’s important to note that this order does not prevent Trump from criticizing the Justice Department in a general sense or from expressing his belief that the case against him is politically motivated to prevent his return to the presidency. Trump’s legal team may contest this ruling, but for now, these restrictions are in place. Trump’s campaign assailed Chutkan’s ruling, saying it is “an absolute abomination and another partisan knife stuck in the heart of our Democracy.”
“President Trump will continue to fight for our Constitution, the American people’s right to support him, and to keep our country free of the chains of weaponized and targeted law enforcement.” In arguments before Chutkan’s ruling, Trump lawyer John Lauro accused prosecutors of “seeking to censor a political candidate in the middle of a campaign.” But the judge rebuffed him, saying Trump “does not have a right to say and do exactly as he pleases.”
“You keep talking about censorship like the defendant has unfettered First Amendment rights. He doesn’t,” Chutkan said. “We’re not talking about censorship here. We’re talking restrictions to ensure there is a fair administration of justice on this case.” Prosecutor Molly Gaston told the judge that Trump’s lawyers were arguing their client is “above the law” and not subject to the same rules as other defendants.
Gaston said Trump knows that his social media posts “motivate people to threaten others,” and she argued those can pollute the jury pool and can chill witnesses who might be called to testify against Trump. “We have no interest in stopping the defendant from running for office or defending his reputation,” Gaston said. Chutkan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, repeatedly warned Trump’s lawyer to keep politics out of his arguments.
She cut him off when he suggested the case was politically motivated. Chutkan also read aloud statements Trump made about her being a “radical Obama hack.” She said she was “less concerned” about his statements about her, but said his free speech did not extend to language that knowingly invites threats and harassment of “people who are simply doing their jobs.”
Trump is trying to raise campaign funds off the dispute, telling would-be donors earlier this month, that Biden’s “weaponized” Justice Department “may very well get away with stripping Biden’s leading opponent (ME) of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech in the 2024 presidential election.” At various times, Trump has called Smith “deranged” and a “psycho” who “looks like a crackhead.”
The prosecutor has brought two cases against Trump, the election conspiracy case in Washington and a separate indictment accusing him of illegally taking highly classified national security documents with him to his oceanside Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida when he left the presidency in 2021 and then conspiring to keep federal agents from retrieving them.
In another social media post, Trump called Chutkan, “a fraud dressed up as a judge” and “a biased, Trump-hating judge.” His lawyers asked Chutkan to recuse herself from overseeing the trial, but she rejected the request. Following one of his public complaints regarding the election conspiracy case, a woman from Texas was charged with making a threatening phone call to Judge Chutkan, who is of African American descent.
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In the call, she used a racist slur against the judge and issued a threat to harm anyone pursuing legal action against former President Trump. This individual has been arrested and is currently awaiting trial, set to take place at the end of October. Apart from the two charges filed by Special Counsel Smith against Trump in the election conspiracy case, the former president is confronting two additional criminal cases.
One of these cases accuses him of attempting to unlawfully overturn his 2020 election loss to President Biden in the southern state of Georgia, while the other involves allegations of falsifying business records within his real estate conglomerate to conceal a hush money payment made to an adult film actress prior to his successful 2016 presidential campaign.