On Friday, Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled against Biden prosecutors, saying that not all pre-trial information would fall under a protective order that would prevent Trump from speaking about the 2020 election case brought forth by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
While not all information would fall under the protective order, only information that was designated as sensitive, she agreed with the prosecution that witness interviews and transcripts that were collected during the grand jury’s investigation would be considered sensitive," according to Fox News.
"The defendant has the right to free speech, but that right is not absolute," Chutkan said at the beginning of the Friday morning hearing in Washington, DC. "Without a protective order, a party could release that info to the jury pool."
Federal prosecutor Thomas Windom said the gag order was necessary to prevent the "improper dissemination of materials … including to the public."
"The defendant has set forth an intention to set forth any information that they deem informative," Windom said.
"Defense has broadcast their strategy, and that is not to try this case in this courtroom, and your honor should address that."
John Lauro, Trump’s attorney, argued that the Biden administration’s request was "extraordinary."
"We are in uncharged waters, we have a defendant running for president and his opponent has the DOJ bringing charges against him," Lauro said.
Chutkan told him that "the fact that he's tuning a political campaign has to yield to the orderly administration of justice," suggesting that Trump could release evidence regarding fellow GOP presidential candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence's testimony.
"The defendant's desire to respond to political opponents has to yield," Chutkan said. "There are limits. This is a criminal case. The need for this case to proceed in a normal order means there are going to be limits on the defendant's speech."
Chutkan said the fact that the gag order could affect Trump's presidential campaign was not her concern, stating "I cannot and will not factor into my decisions the effect it will have on a campaign for either side."
Trump’s team argued that the Biden administration’s request was too broad, and could potentially make it so Trump responding to political attacks on the campaign trail could potentially violate the order.
"Everything that we do here now is under a political microspcope, unfortunately because of what the government has done," he said. "There has to be fair play here. They haven’t even described the discovery is it one terabyte, is it 3 terabytes. You can’t ignore the fact that there’s a campaign."
"He will get his rights," Chutkan said. "The existence of a political campaign is not going to have any bearing on my decision I intend to keep that out of my decision."
In requesting the gag order, the Department of Justice wrote, "the proposed order seeks to prevent... improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including to the public."
Prosecutors argued that the measure to keep Trump quiet was needed because he has shared information about the other pending indictments against him. Smith cited a Truth Social post and said that Trump's team will be given evidence, "much of which includes sensitive and confidential information," and was concerned that it would be leaked online.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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