Donald Trump is cautioned by a judge against threatening witnesses in the 2020 election case.
Claire Hardwick, USA TODAY reports that Trump’s defense in the Jan. 6 case is based on his statements about election fraud and asserts that the first amendment protects his right to privacy.
A federal judge on Friday instructed Donald Trump not to make “inflammatory” threats against witnesses, as part of a limited protective order that limits the former president’s public statements in the case for allegedly trying to steal the 2020 presidential election.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan stated that he will take all necessary measures to preserve the integrity of the case, as Trump’s potential presidential bid in 2024 has raised concerns about witnesses being harassed and intimidated.
Nevertheless, Chutkan maintained during a pre-trial hearing that the prosecution’s request to grant all the information in the case to prosecutors was not justified.
Chutkan has been requested to appear in court in January, which is near the beginning of the 2024 election season. The judge stated that Trump’s “inflammatory statements” warranted a quick trial.
It’s probable to happen in this courtroom.
Chutkan emphasized to Trump’s lawyers that their client’ defense should be conducted in the courtroom, not on the internet.
In complex cases, it is common to have protective orders limiting public comments. However, the defendant, a former president who is seeking to secure another White House seat in 2024, has aggressively targeted prosecutors and potential witnesses as politically motivated.
Chutkan stated during the hearing that she would carefully examine any Trump statements that could be interpreted as attempts to intimidate, threaten, or harass witnesses, which is the primary focus of special counsel Jack Smith and his team.
“I’m seeking your presence.”
Smith’s motion for an enhanced protective order was delayed last week due to Trump’ alleged threats to witnesses and potential public interest in the case. The filing did not take advantage of a Trump Truth Social post that stated: “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING XXIII!”
The post mentioned by Trump and his lawyers referred to political action committees that were created to undermine his 2024 presidential election bid.
According to court documents, attorneys for Trump characterized Smith’s proposed protective order as a violation of his freedom of expression and censorship.
The schedule for the trial.?
Another issue between Trump and prosecutors is that Judge Chutkin plans to set a trial schedule soon.
Smith has urged the judge to schedule a trial for Jan. 2, which is less than two weeks before the Iowa Caucuses, which will begin the Republican presidential nomination process.
Chutkin’s decision to hold an early trial date in early January could potentially trap Trump in court during Republican delegate contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, according to prosecutors.
Trump’s lawyers are expected to seek a delay for as long as possible, similar to the two other criminal trials that will take place next year against the former president.
Trump criticized the Jan. 2 proposal as “election interference” in a Truth Social post, suggesting that the trial should be held after the election.
The election case is not the only one that Trump is facing, as he is also set to face trial in New York state court in March for hush money charges and a federal court hearing in Florida on obstruction of justice charges related to the handling of classified material in May.
This month, Trump may be indicted in Atlanta for allegedly trying to undermine President Joe Biden’s bid for 2020 in Georgia.
The Associated Press is making a contribution.