Last week, the judge in one of Donald Trump’s several ongoing legal cases issued a gag order, which enjoins the former president from publicly criticizing certain people associated with the case.
Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is supervising Trump’s election interference case in Washington, issued the order last week, which “prevents Trump from going after witnesses, prosecutors, and court personnel who are involved in the federal case examining his attempts to overturn the 2020 election,” as Vox described it. The order also applied to others involved in the case.
Trump has reacted negatively, declaring that “the judge said basically I don’t have the right to speak,” and has vowed to appeal the order.
Trump Disparages Clerk in Civil Suit
Now, Trump has been threatened with prison – by a judge in another of his cases.
The judge in Trump’s civil fraud trial, who had issued a similar gag order, has threatened Trump with prison, for violating that order.
Judge Arthur Engoron, per NBC News, criticized Trump for posting “an untrue and disparaging post about my clerk” on Truth Social and on his campaign website and said that he had spoken to Trump about it.
“I ordered him to remove the post immediately and he said he did take it down,” the judge said, per NBC.
This was the post in which Trump alleged, based on a photo that the judge’s female clerk had once taken with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), that the clerk was Schumer’s “girlfriend.”
“Despite this order, last night I learned the offending post was never removed from a website. This is a blatant violation of the gag order. I made it clear [that] failure to comply will result in serious sanctions … incendiary untruths can and have led to serious physical harm. I will now allow the defendant to explain why this should not end up with serious sanctions or I could possibly imprison him.”
Trump’s attorney stated that the continuing presence of the post was “inadvertent.”
And being threatened with jail time by a judge may not be the worst legal news that Trump got on Friday.
That’s because on Friday afternoon Kenneth Chesebro, a pro-Trump attorney accused in the Georgia RICO case of helping to come up with the “fake electors” plot, agreed to plead guilty in that case. He has agreed to testify in future trials.
Chesebro, who had been scheduled to stand trial this week, pled guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit filing false documents, and prosecutors have recommended that he face no jail time. He becomes the the third of Trump’s 18 codefendants in the Georgia case to plead guilty, and the second attorney, joining Sidney Powell after she pled out the day before.
Chesebro, unlike Powell, had pled guilty to a felony.
Per The Hill, Georgia prosecutor Daysha Young told the court during the plea that the state was seeking to show that Chesebro worked with Trump, attorney Rudy Giuliani, and others to “falsely hold themselves out as the duly elected and qualified electors for the president and vice president from Georgia following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election.”
Chesebro was also, the prosecutor said, present on January 6 for the Capitol insurrection.
Now that Powell and Chesebro have pled guilty and will not go on trial, there will most likely not be a trial in the Georgia cases until Trump himself goes on trial, likely sometime next year.
A profile by Air Mail — by journalist Jeffrey Toobin, who this week wrote in defense of the gag orders — earlier this year looked at Chesebro’s unusual life trajectory, noting that he was a liberal Democrat until relatively recently, but at one point split with his wife, got into Bitcoin, and became involved in Republican circles.
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.
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