There have been some substantial recent developments involving the judges presiding over a couple of the multiple criminal indictments and lawsuits that former President Donald Trump is facing while also campaigning to make a return to the White House following the 2024 election.
In the 2020 federal election case, Special Counsel Jack Smith is seeking a gag order to silence Trump's criticism of himself and others involved in the case, including D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, according to CNN.
The former president recently accused the "Trump-hating judge" of being partisan and biased against him and demanded her recusal. He has also repeatedly referred to Smith as "deranged" and his prosecutors as a "team of thugs" and been sharply critical of others who have publicly spoken out against him but may also later be called to testify as witnesses against him.
Following Trump's motion for Judge Chutkan's recusal, and in response to his statements against her, the special counsel, and others, federal prosecutors recently filed a motion to request a "limited gag order" on the former president, per CNN.
The request cited Trump's name-calling and statements made during the 2020 election to "erode public faith in the administration of the election and intimidate individuals who refuted his lies," and asserted, "The defendant is now attempting to do the same thing in this criminal case -- to undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks on the citizens of this District, the Court, prosecutors, and prospective witnesses."
More specifically, the special counsel's prosecutors asked for a court order to prevent Trump from speaking publicly about "the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses" or to make "statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating."
"The defendant’s relentless public posts marshaling anger and mistrust in the justice system, the Court, and prosecutors have already influenced the public," the prosecutors said about the recent arrest of someone who allegedly made "racist death threats" against the court, and argued that Trump "knows that when he publicly attacks individuals and institutions, he inspires others to perpetrate threats and harassment against his targets."
The filing added, "Consistent with its obligations to guard the integrity of these proceedings and prevent prejudice to the jury pool, while respecting the defendant’s First Amendment rights, the Court should enter the proposed orders imposing certain narrow restrictions on the parties’ public statements regarding this case and governing any jury studies the parties may undertake."
In response to that filing, Trump took to his Truth Social platform on Friday and posted, "Biden Prosecutor, Deranged Jack Smith, has asked the Court to limit 45th President, and leading Republican Nominee (by more than 50 points, & beating Dems!) DONALD J. TRUMP’S, PUBLIC STATEMENTS. So, I’m campaigning for President against an incompetent person who has WEAPONIZED the DOJ & FBI to go after his Political Opponent, & I am not allowed to COMMENT?
"They Leak, Lie, & Sue, & they won’t allow me to SPEAK? How else would I explain that Jack Smith is DERANGED, or Crooked Joe is INCOMPETENT?" he added.
Later in the evening, during a speech in Washington D.C., Trump told the audience that Special Counsel Smith "is a deranged individual and he wants to take away my First Amendment rights. They went to court to get an order that I can't speak," and, likely in reference to his deliberate trolling of Smith, added, "So we're gonna have a little bit of fun with that, I think."
Meanwhile, in news that largely flew under the radar this week, The Guardian reported that the $250 million civil suit against Trump by New York Attorney General Letitia James, which is set to begin trial in early October, could be delayed after it was revealed that Trump "quietly sued" the judge presiding over that case.
Proceedings in that case have now been paused amid accusations from Trump's attorneys that Judge Arthur Engoron has ignored orders given to him by an appeals court judge to more thoroughly review the timeliness and acceptability of old real estate deals that James is seeking to use as evidence of alleged bank and insurance fraud.
That trial might not begin now as scheduled in early October, depending upon how long it takes an appeals court panel to consider Trump's claims against Judge Engoron and render a decision on the matter.