A Trump judge is placing limits on the evidence he can share publicly in the D.C. election case
A courtroom sketch depicting Justice Tanya Chutkan in an exchange with Donald Trump’s attorney.
The federal judge overseeing the Donald Trump election interference case has reached an agreement details A protective order is at the center of a dispute between attorneys for the former president and prosecutors for Special Counsel Jack Smith.
At a hearing Friday morning in Washington, D.C., U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan sided with Trump’s lawyers, who challenged the government’s request for a broader ban on disclosure of evidence and other material she collected in the case.
But it did give the Department of Justice the opportunity to identify material that was “sensitive” enough to be covered by the protective order.
The five-page protection order mandates that Trump and his team cannot disclose sensitive material to anyone who is not involved in their legal defense or authorized by the court. Sensitive materials may also be shown to potential witnesses and their attorneys.
Material that the Department of Justice may consider “sensitive” includes witness testimony, grand jury subpoena returns, records obtained through sealed search warrants and records with personally identifiable information.
These materials and any copies must be destroyed after the case is concluded, as the order provides.
During the hearing, Chutkan brushed off defense attorneys’ concerns that the protection order could hinder Trump’s political rhetoric as he seeks the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
“Having a political campaign will not have any influence on my decision,” Chutkan said.
The judge also asked Trump and his team to avoid making any public statements that could have an impact on the fairness of the case. She warned that the more public statements a party makes that could influence potential jurors, the faster a case can go to trial.
“Even vague statements made by the parties or their counsel, if they could reasonably be interpreted to intimidate witnesses or harm prospective jurors, can threaten the process,” she said.
The Justice Department had previously cited Trump’s highly active and explosive social media presence in its argument for the broader order. Trump stressed that the trial should be postponed at least until after the 2024 elections.
Trump faces four counts related to his efforts to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. He pleaded not guilty last week in federal court in Washington, D.C.
Attorney General Thomas Windom argued at the hearing on Friday that preventing the former president from revealing any discovery in the case was necessary for the safety of witnesses and ensuring a fair trial. He warned that Trump’s request for a narrower protective order is just part of an effort to “try this issue in the media” rather than in a courtroom.
Trump’s lawyers have accused the plaintiffs of seeking to censor a political speech by a prominent presidential candidate. They have asked the court to issue an order barring only the public disclosure of “truly sensitive material”.
Defense attorney John Lauro called the breadth of the Justice Department’s order “extraordinary.” Lauro said the charges against Trump, a potential rival to Biden in the 2024 general election, under the auspices of the current administration, put the case in “uncharted territory.”
Chutkan indicated that she has to balance Trump’s First Amendment rights with the needs of a trial.
“If that means he can’t say exactly what he wants to say about the people who might be witnesses in this case, that’s the way it should be,” Shutkan told Lauro.
The proceedings in US District Court in Washington, D.C., gave prosecutors and defense attorneys their first opportunity to argue against Chutkan, who Trump had already attacked on social media.
Former US President Donald Trump’s attorneys Todd Blanche (R) and John Lauro (L) arrive at the E. Barrett Prettyman US Court on August 11, 2023 in Washington, DC. Blanche and Lauro attended the first hearing by US District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan regarding a protective order related to the disclosure of government evidence in the case against Trump.
Wayne McNamee | Getty Images
Chutkan is an Obama appointee for which she is best known hard situation In other cases related to the January 6 Capitol riot crimes.
Trump, in a series of recent posts on Truth Social, accused Chutkan of a conflict of interest and said there was “no way” he could get a fair trial with her as a judge.
It was suggested that his case be transferred to a different judge and he moved from a Democratic-leaning district to a different location, such as West Virginia.
This article originally appeared on www.cnbc.com