Home Finance & Investing Attorney Trump Screams About Not Being Allowed To Speak After Narrow Gag Order – Above the Law

Trump Screams About Not Being Allowed To Speak After Narrow Gag Order – Above the Law

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Trump Screams About Not Being Allowed To Speak After Narrow Gag Order – Above the Law

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939637Yesterday afternoon, Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a limited gag order on Donald Trump, barring him from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, and courtroom staff.

The verbal ruling came at the end of a contentious hearing in which Trump’s lawyer John Lauro parroted right-wing talking points about a political prosecution, timed by the “Biden Justice Department” to take out his client in the middle of a political campaign. Lauro insisted that it was legitimate political speech for Trump to call Special Counsel Jack Smith a “thug,” and even to attack Smith’s wife.

Judge Chutkan did not agree.

“Mr. Trump is a criminal defendant. He is facing four felony charges. He is under the supervision of the criminal justice system,” she said, according to Politico. “He does not have the right to say and do exactly as he pleases. … No other criminal defendant would be allowed to do so and I am not going to permit it in this case.”

Last night Trump ranted to his followers in Iowa about how he wasn’t allowed to speak at all because a mean judge spends all day hating him.

And he was still at it this morning when he showed up in New York for his civil fraud trial.

“You saw yesterday where they take away my right to speak. I won’t be able to speak like I’m speaking to you and I’m not saying anything wrong. I’m saying the truth. I won’t be able to do this with that trial,” he babbled. “Because the judge, which of course we’re appealing, because the judge said basically, I don’t have a right to speak.”

And before anyone could point out that he did not, in fact, appear to be particularly restrained, the former president launched into another demented rant about real estate valuations, insisting that his Mar-a-Lago club — “the most expensive house probably in the world” — is worth a billion dollars. That is also bullshit, and yet he is free to spew it.

This morning, Judge Chutkan issued a written order memorializing yesterday’s ruling.

“Under binding Supreme Court precedent, this court ‘must take such steps by rule and regulation that will protect [its] processes from prejudicial outside interferences,’” she began, citing a precedential Supreme Court case from1966.
The First Amendment does not override that obligation.”

The court noted that Trump’s public statements go far beyond defending himself and protesting his innocence. His attacks on individuals, including some involved in this case, routinely bring threats and harassment on their targets.

“Defendant has made those statements to national audiences using language communicating not merely that he believes the process to be illegitimate, but also that particular individuals involved in it are liars, or ‘thugs,’ or deserve death,” she continued.

And so Trump (and everyone else, but mostly Trump) is barred from flapping his yap about prosecutors, court staff, or potential witnesses:

Accordingly, and pursuant to Local Criminal Rule 57.7(c), it is hereby ORDERED that:

All interested parties in this matter, including the parties and their counsel, are prohibited from making any public statements, or directing others to make any public statements, that target (1) the Special Counsel prosecuting this case or his staff; (2) defense counsel or their staff; (3) any of this court’s staff or other supporting personnel; or (4) any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of their testimony.

He’s still free to scream about “Crooked Joe Biden,” or how filthy and crime-ridden DC is, and even to slag Mike Pence on the subject of his campaign platform (whatever that might be). And he’s still free to shitpost about the judge, which he has done.

But he can’t use his presidential campaign as an excuse to behave in ways that other defendants could not.

“The bottom line is that equal justice under law requires the equal treatment of criminal defendants,” the court concluded. “Defendant’s presidential candidacy cannot excuse statements that would otherwise intolerably jeopardize these proceedings.”

So far, Trump has screamed a lot about not being allowed to speak, but managed to stay more or less within the bounds of the order. But with multiple live appearances every day, and a million weirdos dumping invective in his timeline, that seems unlikely to last.

And then … who knows?

US v. Trump [DDC Docket via Court Listener]


Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.



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