Tuesday February 27, 2024

U.S. judge imposes gag order on Trump in election subversion case

Published : 17 Oct 2023, 01:51

  DF News Desk
Then U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States, on March 3, 2020. File Photo: Xinhua.

A U.S. federal judge on Monday issued a gag order on former President Donald Trump in his criminal case on charges of attempting to subvert the 2020 presidential election, reported Xinhua.

The order bars Trump from personally targeting prosecutors, court staff and potential witnesses in the case.

"First Amendment protections yield to the administration of justice and to the protection of witnesses," U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said Monday as she issued the gag order.

She said Trump's status as a candidate did not give him carte blanche to level a "smear campaign" against those involved in the case.

"This is not about whether I like the language Mr. Trump uses," Chutkan said. "It's about language that presents a danger to the administration of justice."

The ruling came after a two-hour hearing where the judge grilled a Trump lawyer about recent social media posts in which Trump referred to Special Counsel Jack Smith as a "thug."

On Truth Social platform, the former president lashed out at Smith on Sunday, calling him a "Leaking, Crooked and Deranged Prosecutor," and attacked Chutkan as a "highly partisan Obama appointed Judge."

The U.S. Justice Department filed a motion requesting to limit Trump's attacks that included disparaging, inflammatory and intimidating remarks about the case.

A Trump campaign spokesperson called the gag order "an absolute abomination and another partisan knife stuck in the heart of our Democracy by Crooked Joe Biden."

On Monday, the judge also rejected a renewed attempt by Trump's lawyers to postpone the trial, which is scheduled to begin in Washington in March 2024, and emphasized that the date would not change.