In October, a federal judge issued a gag order on former President Donald Trump, limiting what he can say about special counsel Jack Smith’s federal prosecution into his alleged attempt to subvert in the 2020 presidential election.
The order restricts Trump’s ability to publicly target court personnel, potential witnesses or the special counsel and his staff. The order did not impose restrictions on disparaging comments about Washington, DC, – where the jury will take place – or certain comments about the Justice Department at large, both of which the government requested.
“This is not about whether I like the language Mr. Trump uses,” Judge Tanya Chutkan said. “This is about language that presents a danger to the administration of justice.”
“His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify public servants who are simply doing their jobs,” the judge added.
Following the two federal indictments against the former president, Trump has lashed out against prosecutors, potential witnesses and the judge overseeing the election subversion case in Washington. Prosecutors with special counsel Jack Smith’s office say these comments are enough to warrant a narrow restriction on Trump’s speech around the case.
Chutkan, often the target of Trump’s attacks, warned the former president that comments he or his attorneys make could threaten the case.
“Mr. Trump is a criminal defendant. He is facing four felony charges. He is under the supervision of the criminal justice system and he must follow his conditions of release,” Chutkan said during a hearing in October.
“He does not have the right to say and do exactly what he pleases. Do you agree with that?” she asked Trump attorney John Lauro, who responded: “100%.”
A federal appeals court temporarily froze the limited gag order earlier this month.