(HorizonPost.com) – US District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday handed special counsel Jack Smith a partial victory when she imposed a partial gag order limiting some statements Donald Trump can make about the 2020 election interference case, CBS News reported.
Last month, prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s office asked Judge Chutkan, who is overseeing the 2020 election interference trial, to impose a “narrowly tailored” gag order preventing Trump from making “extrajudicial statements” that pose a “serious and substantial danger of materially prejudicing this case.”
In their motion, prosecutors cited multiple social media posts and public statements from Trump dating back to the 2020 election to argue that the former president has an “established practice” of specifically targeting those who challenge him.
Prosecutors argued that Trump is aware that his public attacks on individuals and institutions will inspire others “to perpetrate threats” and harass his targets. They noted that the former president has already publicly attacked possible witnesses and special counsel Jack Smith “to prejudice the public and the jury pool ahead of the upcoming trial.
The special counsel’s office asked that a limited gag order be imposed on all parties involved to prevent Trump from attempting to taint the jury pool before the trial begins. They argued that Trump should not be allowed to “try this case in the court of public opinion” instead of in a court of law.
In her split ruling, Judge Chutkan granted only part of the special counsel’s request, barring the parties in the case from making statements about the special counsel or his staff, Judge Chutkan’s staff, and other court personnel. The judge also imposed a gag on statements about potential witnesses or any testimony in the case.
However, the Judge refused to impose limits on statements critical of Washington D.C., the Biden administration in general, or the Justice Department specifically.
In issuing her decision, the judge said that the protections in the First Amendment must “yield to the administration of justice and the protection of witnesses.”
In a statement after Monday’s decision, a spokesman for the Trump campaign called Judge Chutkan’s ruling an “absolute abomination” and a “partisan knife” in the “heart of Democracy.”
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