In the nation’s capital, a federal judge presiding over the election subversion case against Donald Trump has taken a huge step that restricts Trump’s freedom of speech.
Preventing Further Attacks
The judge has issued a restricted order restraining the former president from further verbal attacks on potential witnesses, prosecutors, and the very court scrutinizing the allegations.
Scope and Implications of the Gag Order
Judge Tanya Chutkan’s gag order, though constrained in scope, represents a significant restriction on Trump’s freedom of speech, the biggest he’s ever faced in his long career.
Judge’s Clarification on the Gag Order
Chutkan clarified, “This is not about whether I appreciate Mr. Trump’s choice of words. It’s about language that poses a threat to the proper functioning of justice.”
Trump’s Presidential Status Means Nothing
She informed the court that Trump’s status as a former president does not grant him rights to bully, “His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify public servants who are simply doing their jobs.”
Limits of the Gag Order
The gag order issued by Chutkan prohibits Trump from making specific remarks about the special counsel’s team, potential witnesses, or court personnel involved in the federal election subversion case.
Addressing Concerns Raised by the Judge
Chutkan expressed deep concern over remarks that she believes could incite violence against special counsel Smith, among others related to the case.
Trump’s Bullying Evidence
Trump had previously made such comments, branding Smith a “thug” and accusing potential witness Mark Milley of treason.
Comparing to Previous Gag Order and Its Limitations
Earlier, a New York state judge had imposed a similar gag order on Trump regarding comments about the court staff in his civil fraud trial, but the current order applies to comments related to the federal election subversion case in Washington, DC.
Trump’s First Amendment Right Explained
Chutkan responded to critics arguing that the gag order was a breach of Trump’s First Amendment right, “One could come away from these arguments with a mistaken understanding that the First Amendment is an absolute right.”
Judge Clears First Amendment Right
“That is false. The First Amendment yields to the administration of justice,” she explained.
Trump vs. Biden May Continue
The order does not restrict Trump from criticizing President Joe Biden and the Department of Justice in general, “He can criticize President Biden to his heart’s content, your honor, because President Biden has nothing to do with this case,” the prosecutor said.
Trump’s “Unfair” Argument Put To Bed
Trump can assert that he is being unfairly prosecuted, but the judge responded, “When you start to use a word like ‘thug’ to describe a prosecutor doing their job, that wouldn’t be allowed by any other criminal defendant.”
Enforcement Measures for the Gag Order
Chutkan did not outline specific penalties for violating the gag order but suggested various options, including admonishment in court, financial penalties, home detention, or revocation of pretrial release.
Trump’s Planned Appeal
Trump plans to appeal the ruling through his social media platform Truth Social.
Trial Date Confirmation
Trump’s defense argued against the proposed gag order, contending that it was an attempt by the Biden administration to stifle Trump’s commentary during an election cycle.
Judge’s Response to “Politically Motivated” Claims
“If the message Mr. Trump wants to express is ‘my prosecution is politically motivated,’” he can do so without using “highly charged language,” Chutka responded.
Heated Moments in the Hearing
The hearing occasionally became heated, with disagreements between Trump’s attorney and Judge Chutkan regarding the use of political rhetoric and tone in the courtroom. Chutkan made it clear that political discussions have no place within the confines of the courtroom.
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