Judge issues protective order against Trump, warning him against ‘inflammatory statements’
Judge Supervising Special Counsel Jack Smith January 6 issue Donald Trump issued a protective order against the former president after a hearing Friday in which she warned Trump against making “inflammatory statements” about the case and said his First Amendment rights are “not absolute.”
Judge Tanya Chutkan heard arguments Friday about the terms of the protective order Smith was seeking in order to prevent the “incorrect publication or use of discovery materials” as his team prepares to turn over Trump attorneys to them to prepare Trump’s defense. Trump himself was not present at the hearing.
The judge’s ruling, issued after the hearing, prohibited disclosure of a range of “sensitive” materials, including all recordings, transcripts, interview reports, and relevant evidence shared by the special counsel.
Smith requested the order of protection last Friday after Trump Post a message to his social media platform, Truth Social, saying, “If you go after me, I’ll come after you!”
“Mr. Trump, like any American, has the right to freedom of expression,” Chutkan told lawyers at Friday’s hearing. “But this right is not absolute.”
The Trump campaign said Trump’s message was targeted at political interest groups.
As Chutkan was wrapping up the hearing, she warned Trump about public statements he’s made about the case — and suggested his words could backfire by moving the case to trial faster.
“I intend to ensure that justice is administered in an orderly manner in this case as I do in any other case,” Chutkan said. “The more sensational statements a party makes about the case that could taint the jury or frighten off potential witnesses, the greater the need to go through the trial to ensure there is a jury from which we can select an impartial jury.”
Trump earlier this month Not guilty to press charges of conducting a “criminal scheme” to overturn the results of the 2020 election by listing so-called “fake voters”, using the Department of Justice to conduct “bogus investigations into election crimes”, attempting to recruit the vice president to “change the election results” and promoting false allegations of election theft As riots broke out on January 6 – all in an effort to undermine democracy and stay in power.
The former president denied any wrongdoing and denounced the charges as “persecution of a political opponent”.
On the question of how broad the protection order should be, Trump’s lawyers suggested that its scope be more specific and also wanted to be able to share discovery materials with so-called “volunteer attorneys” and other non-attorneys assisting with the case.
Prosecutors, who have sought to protect a broader range of material, said the government’s goal is to prevent any material turned over at discovery from being used to ultimately mislead a jury.
“They’ve specified what they intend to do with him,” special counsel Tom Windom said of Trump and his team. “Even if it is an insensitive material, it can still intimidate witnesses.”
Chutkan ruled that Trump would be prohibited from publicly discussing material deemed “sensitive,” which would include all recordings, transcripts, interview reports, and relevant evidence shared by the special counsel.
The judge said she believed the release of the material created a “significant risk” that witnesses might be intimidated or that the jury group might be contaminated.
Trump’s lawyers have also sought a free offer from the judge during Trump’s campaigns to win back the presidency in 2024.
Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, pressed the judge on the matter, saying Trump was entitled to speak freely if he “has a memory of something on the campaign trail.”
However, Chutkan responded that “this is a criminal trial” and that she would not base her decision on “whether it would influence a political campaign on either side.”
“Having a political campaign will not have any influence on my decision,” Chutkan said.
“He is a criminal defendant – he will have limitations like any other defendant,” said the judge.
Regarding the part of the protective order that relates to how Trump himself will be supervised when reviewing discovery materials shared by the government, Lauro said he had concerns about asking a lawyer to sit with Trump anytime he wanted to read the evidence — but Windom responded by saying the government had sufficient grounds to request it. .
Windom quipped, referring to the accusations Trump faces over his alleged retention of classified documents.
Windom said the government was concerned that if Trump was alone reviewing the evidence, he could choose to take a picture of it with his phone or make some kind of “copy” that he would then release.
Like Live Twitter? Judge Chutkan asked.
Windom replied, “I mean, literally just photograph or take a picture of something in order to do whatever it wants.”
Chutkan ultimately ruled that it would allow Trump to review the discovery materials without a member of his legal team sitting with him — however, she said she would order his attorneys to “make sure” that if Trump was reviewing the materials alone, he did not have any kind of electronic device or Phones that can be used to copy materials.
Windom said the government will start sharing discovery material once the protective order is in place — “approximately 11.6 million pages or files,” he said, adding that the material is “very well-organized” and that the government expects discovery to be “massive.” Completed” by the end of the month.
Judge issues protective order against Trump, warning him against ‘inflammatory statements’ appeared in the original abcnews.go.com