U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing Donald Trump’s election interference case, threw the former president a lifeline during a late Sunday filing.
Newsweek reported that Chutkan turned away a request from the Department of Justice to put Trump in jail for violating a gag order she re-imposed on him. In a footnote reinstating the gag order, the judge denied federal prosecutors’ request to incorporate her order into the conditions of Trump’s release.
“Even assuming that request is procedurally proper, the court concludes that granting it is not necessary to effectively enforce the order at this time,” she wrote.
The order lifted a temporary hold she placed on her initial gag order, determining that “the right to a fair trial is not [Trump’s] alone but belongs also to the government and the public.”
Chutkan “also denied Trump’s request to issue a long-term stay of the order, which bars the former president from publicly targeting court personnel, potential witnesses, or the special counsel’s team, while his appeal of it played out,” CNN added.
Former federal prosecutor and elected state attorney Michael McAuliffe told the outlet that the judge was very likely merely being “careful and deliberate” in her ruling because the case has drawn immense scrutiny.
“She certainly knows her every action, including small decisions about the gag order, will be scrutinized and appealed,” McAuliffe told Newsweek. “As such, she is taking a decidedly incremental approach. A good judge knows to wait until issues are ripe for resolution.”
Earlier this month, Chutkan temporarily froze the gag order she previously issued against the 45th president “to give the parties more time to brief her on the former president’s request to pause the order while his appeal of it plays out,” CNN reported at the time.
The outlet added: “Chutkan also said that the Justice Department has until Wednesday to respond to Trump’s request for a longer pause on the gag order and that Trump would have until the following Saturday to reply to the government’s filing. Trump has already appealed the gag order to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and in a 33-page filing on Friday, his attorneys urged Chutkan to pause the order while that appeal plays out.”
“Trump has already appealed the gag order to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and in a 33-page filing on Friday, his attorneys urged Chutkan to pause the order while that appeal plays out,” CNN reported.
After she reimposed it on Sunday, Trump went off over it on his Truth Social platform.
“I have just learned that the very Biased, Trump Hating Judge in D.C., who should have RECUSED herself due to her blatant and open loathing of your favorite President, ME, has reimposed a GAG ORDER which will put me at a disadvantage against my prosecutorial and political opponents,” he wrote.
“This order, according to many legal scholars, is unthinkable! It illegally and unconstitutionally takes away my First Amendment Right of Free Speech, in the middle of my campaign for President, where I am leading against BOTH Parties in the Polls,” he added.
“Few can believe this is happening, but I will appeal. How can they tell the leading candidate that he, and only he, is seriously restricted from campaigning in a free and open manner? It will not stand!” he continued.
He added later: “The Obama appointed Federal Judge in D.C, a TRUE TRUMP HATER, is incapable of giving me a fair trial. Her Hatred of President DONALD J. TRUMP is so great that she has been diagnosed with a major, and incurable, case of TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME!!!”
Axios added: “Prosecutors had argued that a gag order was necessary to protect the integrity of judicial proceedings, but Trump’s lawyers said it would violate his right to free speech and restrict his 2024 campaign.”