Free Speech ‘Not Absolute,’ Obama Judge Admonishes Trump While Limiting His Access to Sensitive Evidence in Jan. 6 Trial

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Friday was a mixed bag of a day for former President Donald Trump.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing special counsel Jack Smith’s ongoing 2020 election meddling case against Trump, actually ultimately agreed with Trump’s defense attorneys on a key issue.

Namely, Trump’s legal team was arguing that the prosecutors’ request for the former president to effectively be muzzled was a step too far.

According to the Associated Press, on Aug. 4, prosecutors asked Chutkan to issue a protective order concerning evidence in the ongoing case.

At the time, they argued that Trump could wield outsized influence if he were to post on social media about “witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him.”


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Now, the bad news for Team Trump: Despite Chutkan’s agreement with Trump’s legal team, she also agreed with the prosecutors that certain “sensitive materials” should not make their way to public discourse.

And the kicker: Chutkan is allowing the prosecution to dictate the terms of what is “sensitive” and what is not.

In short, the prosecution is still largely getting what it wants (according to Forbes, the prosecutors wanted “a much broader protective order” that Chutkan rejected), because they are effectively setting the terms of this “more limited” protective order.

Perhaps just as concerning for Trump’s legal team, however, is the actual rhetoric Chutkan used when addressing the court.

Do you agree with the judge?

Yes: 3% (22 Votes)

No: 97% (764 Votes)

She noted that while Trump, “like every American, has a First Amendment right to free speech,” that right is “not absolute” and in cases such as these, “free speech is subject to the rules.”

As Forbes described, that specific line appeared to be “a direct repudiation” of the argument being made by Team Trump that any protective order against him would be a violation of his First-Amendment rights.

Chutkan also didn’t mince words when it came to how these legal proceedings could interfere with Trump’s ongoing bid for re-election.

She told Trump’s team that it “has to yield” to the legal proceedings, and “if that means he can’t say exactly what he wants to say in a political speech, that is just how it’s going to have to be.”

All parties are set to reconvene on Aug. 28, when they will attempt to hammer out a trial start date.


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That meeting has the potential to be tumultuous, given that Smith’s proposed start date of Jan. 2, 2024,  has been a source of much frustration from Trump.

In an ironic twist, the former president actually called that start date “election interference” because of how close it is to the GOP primary caucuses in Iowa — the “real” start to GOP primary season.

Further adding to Trump’s woes, Chutkan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014, is described by the AP as “the toughest punisher” when it comes to all matters related to Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the four criminal charges related to Smith’s ongoing investigation into the former president’s alleged efforts to subvert the 2020 election.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.

Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.




Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.


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