Donald Trump gets a gag order from DC federal judge: In the partial order, Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that the former president could not discuss certain people associated with the case.
Donald Trump Has a New Problem
If Donald Trump has any greater nightmare than going to jail, it’s the idea that he might lose the ability to rail against his enemies at will.
The latter has now happened, in one of Trump’s legal cases.
According to Politico, Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the Trump federal criminal case involving alleged election interference, has barred the former president from “attacking witnesses, prosecutors and court staff” in connection with that case. It is a limited gag order, and it only applies to the federal case in D.C. and not his other cases. However, Special Counsel Jack Smith is also the lead prosecutor in Trump’s documents case.
Trump had also received a partial gag order in his New York civil trial.
“First Amendment protections yield to the administration of justice and to the protection of witnesses,” the judge said Monday, the report said. “His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify … public servants who are simply doing their job.”
Gag orders are not particularly rare when a judge doesn’t want someone involved in a case to speak in the media in ways that could affect that case.
“This trial will not yield to the election cycle and we will not revisit the trial date,” the judge added. The trial in that case is scheduled to begin March 4, 2024.
Trump has vowed to appeal the ruling. And he railed against it, on Truth Social Monday.
“A TERRIBLE THING HAPPENED TO DEMOCRACY TODAY – GAG ORDER!,” Trump posted on Truth Social Monday. “WILL APPEAL THE GAG ORDER RULING. WITCH HUNT!,” he added.
Trump also discussed the gag order at a rally in Iowa.
“A judge doesn’t like me too much. Her whole life is not liking me,” the former president said, per Rolling Stone.
Trump also implied in the speech, that the gag order prevents him from criticizing President Biden, but that is not true.
“The narrowly tailored order explicitly left Mr. Trump free as he pursues his presidential campaign to continue disparaging the Justice Department and President Biden,” the New York Times said in an analysis. “It even allowed him to assert that he believed his criminal prosecution was politically motivated. Judge Chutkan apparently left Mr. Trump leeway to attack her as well.”
There are reasons to want to prevent the former president from targeting specific personnel connected to Trump’s legal cases.
Back in August, a 43-year-old Texas woman was arrested and charged with threatening Judge Chutkan, in a voicemail left in her chambers. The woman was also accused of a threat to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), as well as “all Democrats in Washington, DC and all people in the LGBTQ community.”
The voicemail to the judge included both a racial slur and a direct death threat, media reports said. The case was brought in the federal system because it is a federal crime to threaten a federal judge or member of Congress. The call had also come from an unblocked phone number that authorities were easily able to trace to the woman’s cell phone.
“If Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly,” the woman was accused of saying, followed by an expletive. “You will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it.”
Federal agents went to visit the woman, who admitted that she had in fact left the messages. She added that she had no plans to visit Washington or Houston, but added that if Jackson Lee were to visit her hometown, “then we need to worry.”
The woman’s father described her as a “nonviolent alcoholic” who “sits on her couch daily watching the news while drinking too many beers.”
Author Expertise and Experience
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.