DC judge issues gag order against Trump

 October 17, 2023

In the ongoing 3-D chess match between former President Donald Trump and a collective of liberal prosecutors and judges, arguably the most partisan judge of all made a bold move on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan based in Washington, D.C. granted a gag order against Trump that had been requested by special prosecutor Jack Smith--at least, she granted most of Smith's request.

Trump is now barred from comments “publicly targeting” the judge, special counsel Jack Smith, and “any other court personnel," as well as their families and witnesses in the case.

“First Amendment protections yield to the administration of justice and to the protection of witnesses,” Chutkan said of the order. “His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify … public servants who are simply doing their job.”

The limits

Chutkan did not grant the parts of Smith's request that would have barred Trump from making comments about Washington, D.C. or its residents, or from claiming that the prosecution stems from a vendetta by the Biden administration.

Trump “can argue that this prosecution is politically motivated,” the judge said, but he cannot call the prosecutor a thug or “vilify and implicitly encourage violence against public servants who are simply doing their jobs.”

Chutkan said there will be "sanctions" against Trump if he violates the order, which of course, he will. She did not elaborate on what the punishment would be, but said she would issue another order later with those details.

Chutkan was apparently angered that Trump verbally attacked one of her clerks.

Trump lawyer John Lauro said that Trump will appeal the ruling because it violates his free speech rights.

Second gag order

The order is part of a case against Trump that argues he attempted to overturn the 2020 election.

It is the second gag order placed on Trump in two weeks, after a limited gag order was put in place in Manhattan as part of a case there.

Chutkin also denied a request by Trump to delay the trial until after the election.

“This trial will not yield to the election cycle and we will not revisit the trial date,” Chutkan said.

The trial is scheduled to begin March 4, the day before Super Tuesday. Trump lawyers and supporters have argued that the entire indictment is election interference by the DOJ of Trump's main political opponent, and starting the trial on this date only bolsters their argument.

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