Judge Declines to Silence Trump, But Bars Comment on Witness Testimony

Judge Declines to Silence Trump, But Bars Comment on Witness Testimony

Judge Tanya Chutkin ruled Friday in Washington, D.C., that former President Donald Trump will be allowed to comment on his case publicly, but will not be allowed to comment on witnesses or to reveal witness testimony, including videos and transcripts.

The protective order largely rejected Special Counsel Jack Smith’s effort last Friday, in an emergency motion, to stop Trump from commenting on any of the evidence turned over by prosecutors to defense attorneys as part of the discovery process of the trial.

Critics said that Smith’s proposed protective order was an attempt at election interference, since it would silence the leading opposition candidate in the presidential campaign.

Trump’s lawyers, in their response, also cited a tweet by President Joe Biden — adopting the “dark Brandon” persona — in which he seemed to be relishing Trump’s imminent arraignment in Washington.

A cup of Joe never tasted better.

Grab yours: https://t.co/4fbxCBQNPZ pic.twitter.com/s2qboyE7C1

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 3, 2023

They argued that the entire prosecution was a political exercise meant to ensure that Trump could never be president again.

Judge Chutkin, a Barack Obama appointee and Obama/Biden campaign donor, said that she would not be influenced by politics in her handling of the case. She said that Trump would have to accept that he could not say whatever he wanted about witnesses.

IMPORTANT — CHUTKAN: “What the defendant is currently doing — the fact that he’s running a political campaign has to yield to the orderly administration of justice. If that means he can’t say exactly what he wants to say about witnesses in this case, that’s how it has to be.”

— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 11, 2023

Ultimately, the judge ruled that Trump could not discuss or intimidate witnesses, in accordance with an earlier agreement on the conditions of his release before trial. And she said that he could not reveal “sensitive” evidence, including witness testimony.

In addition, she limited the access of Trump’s legal team to the evidence against him, saying that it could not use a wider legal team, including pro bono attorneys, to review the evidence against him — the first batch of which is 11.6 million pages, CBS noted.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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