As Donald Trump’s criminal indictments gain speed, prosecutors are looking to shut down his most valued asset – his mouth.
Prosecutors Want Trump to Stop Running His Mouth
Prosecutors working for the DOJ’s special counsel Jack Smith asked the judge to impose a partial gag order in Trump’s January 6th case because, they said, Trump’s comments threaten to intimidate witnesses and taint the jury pool.
They claimed Trump’s persistent allegations of fraud and inflammatory rhetoric are consistent with his behavior that undermined the 2020 elections.
“The defendant’s conduct presents a ‘substantial likelihood of material prejudice’ to these proceedings, and the Court can and should take steps to restrict such harmful extrajudicial statements,” wrote senior assistant special counsels Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom.
Ms. Gaston is a longtime prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington and prosecuted some of Mr. Trump’s allies including Roger J. Stone Jr. and Stephen K. Bannon, both of whom served as the former president’s political advisers.
Prosecutors pointed to an incident where a Houston area woman threatened the judge overseeing Trump’s election interference case.
“You are in our sights, we want to kill you,” Abigail Jo Shry allegedly said in a voicemail to Washington, D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. “Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly, *****.”
“You will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it,” the voicemail continued.
The affidavit said Shry used both the N-word and “slave” to address Chutkan, who was born in Jamaica.
While Shry admitted to making the call, she claimed she had no plans to travel to Washington, D.C. to carry out such threats.
Is Trump to blame for this crazy behavior? According to prosecutors, yes, just as he did in 2020 when he incited a large group of protestors to riot.
Much has been said about Chutkan being less than an impartial judge.
The University of Pennsylvania trained judge handed down harsher than recommended punishments for a number of defendants in the January 6th trials. She ignored the Justice Department’s endorsed sentences, citing the necessity of consequences for taking part in the uprising.
In shorthand, she is not a fan of Donald Trump. Still, she seemed to exercise judicious caution, carefully balancing Trump’s First Amendment rights with her duty to protect the integrity of the case over which she is presiding.
Chutkan crafted what she said would be a “narrowly tailored” gag order that restricts Mr. Trump from making public statements attacking the witnesses, prosecutors, or court staff.
Mr. Trump’s freedom of speech rights, Chutkan said, do not permit him “to launch a pre-trial smear campaign” against those people. “No other defendant would be allowed to do so, and I’m not going to allow it in this case.”
The order does not prevent Trump from criticizing the Biden administration, residents of Washington, D.C., or the media, broadly speaking.
According to the New York Times, Judge Chutkan did not immediately address the question of how she will enforce her gag order. She merely said she would assess any consequences for Trump if and when he violates it.
Trump continues to pop off on Truth Social, condemning not only the DOJ, but Judge Chutkan herself.
“A Leaking, Crooked and Deranged Prosecutor, Jack Smith, who has a terrible record of failure, is asking a highly partisan Obama appointed Judge, Tanya Chutkan, who should recuse herself based on the horrible things she has said, to silence me, through the use of a powerful GAG ORDER, making it impossible for me to criticize those who are doing the silencing, namely Crooked Joe Biden, and his corrupt and weaponized DOJ & FBI.”
Chutkan also did not bar Trump from attacking her personally.
Trump’s mouth has always been his biggest problem. It would be surprising if he decides to exercise prudence now.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor and opinion writer for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.