Donald Trump Hit With Another Gag Order To Prevent Smear Campaign
A federal judge granted a limited gag order in Donald Trump’s election interference case on Monday (October 16). According to multiple reports, Judge Tanya Chutkan barred the former president from attacking prosecutors, witnesses and court staff in the Washington, D.C. criminal case.
Trump often targeted the judge, special counsel Jack Smith, lawyers working under Smith and potential witnesses in speeches and social media posts. Judge Chutkan sought to stop the public bashing and threatened to impose sanctions if Trump did not comply.
“Mr. Trump may still vigorously seek public support as a presidential candidate, debate policies and people related to that candidacy, criticize the current administration and assert his belief that this prosecution is politically motivated,” Judge Chutkan said, per NBC News. “But those critical First Amendment freedoms do not allow him to launch a pre-trial smear campaign against participating government staff, their families and foreseeable witnesses.”
The judge added, “Mr. Trump can certainly claim he’s being unfairly prosecuted, but I cannot imagine any other criminal case in which a defendant is permitted to call the prosecutor ‘deranged’ or ‘a thug,’ and I will not permit it here simply because the defendant is running a political campaign. His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify and implicitly encourage violence against public servants who are simply doing their job.”
A Trump spokesperson claimed the judge’s decision was an “absolute abomination and another partisan knife stuck in the heart of our Democracy.” Judge Chutkan was the second judge to issue a partial gag order against Trump this month.
Judge Arthur Engoron instituted a gag order in the Republican politician’s New York fraud case on October 3. Judge Engoron took action after Trump personally attacked a court clerk.
Trump is running for president while facing four criminal cases. His election interference trial is scheduled to begin in March 2024.