Judge order Trump and prosecution lawyers to propose dates for hearing on protective order

August 8, 2023

Judge Tanya Chutkan is presiding over former President Donald Trump's criminal case in Washington D.C., and this week she considered a request from Special Counsel Jack Smith to limit what Trump can publicly say.

According to ABC News, Chutkan has responded to the request by ordering defense and prosecution lawyers to propose dates for a hearing on the matter. 

Smith points to social media post

ABC News noted that Smith's request came after Trump put up a Truth Social post this past Friday which read, "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I'M COMING AFTER YOU!"

The special counsel argued in his filing that a protective order "is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him."

"And in recent days, regarding this case, the defendant has issued multiple posts—either specifically or by implication—including the following, which the defendant posted just hours ago," ABC News quoted Smith as adding.

However, Trump's attorneys responded with a filing of their own on Monday which insisted that granting Smith's request would be unconstitutional.

Trump's lawyers say Smith's request would violate the First Amendment

"In a trial about First Amendment rights, the government seeks to restrict First Amendment rights," Trump's lawyers maintained.

"Worse, it does so against its administration's primary political opponent, during an election season in which the administration, prominent party members, and media allies have campaigned on the indictment and proliferated its false allegations," the filing continued.

It went on to complain that Smith is asking Chutkan to "assume the role of censor and impose content-based regulations on President Trump's political speech.

The statement pointed out that this "would forbid him from publicly discussing or disclosing all non-public documents produced by the government, including both purportedly sensitive materials, and non-sensitive, potentially exculpatory documents."

Trump spokesman: "Post cited is the definition of political speech"

Meanwhile, Newsweek noted that a Trump spokesperson also weighed in on the controversy by declaring Trump's comments to be constitutionally protected speech.

"The Truth post cited is the definition of political speech, and was in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch brothers and the Club for No Growth," the spokesperson asserted.

ABC News reported that on Monday evening, Chutkan instructed both sides to propose a hearing time when the matter could be discussed further.

The judge set a deadline for 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and suggested that she would like to see the hearing take place before Friday.

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