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Aug 13- Tanya Chutkan, a US district judge, has reminded former President Donald Trump that his right to free expression over the events of January 6, 2020 is not absolute.
She also barred Trump from sharing any sensitive information about the event prior to the trial.
Chutkan had previously urged Trump not to make any incendiary remarks prior to the trial. She is limiting how the former president can handle the evidence that prosecutors will give over to him at certain points during the trial.
Chutkan, who was chosen by former President Barack Obama, is known for being strong, and she began the hearing Friday at the federal courthouse in Washington, DC, by declaring that Trump’s rights as a criminal defendant will be preserved.
She said that his right to free speech under the first amendment to the constitution was not absolute.
In the United States, judges are appointed at random, not on the basis of partisan politics.
“In a criminal case, such as this one, the defendant’s free speech is subject to the rules,” she explained.
She concluded the hearing by guaranteeing that the Trump case will continue as any other normal criminal justice action, with the caution that any “inflammatory” statements made by any side would force her to hold the trial sooner to ensure a fair jury.
“It is a bedrock principle of the judicial process in this country,” she added, citing a precedent, “those legal trials are not like elections, to be won through the use of the meeting hall, radio, and newspaper.”
“This case is no exception,” she said, as her counterpart in the Georgia case, Judge of Fulton County Robert C I McBurney, had chided Trump’s legal counsels not to present any false evidence that could prejudice the election interference case, in which the former president has already been indicted by a federal jury in DC on four counts of felony, including attempting to conspire and plot an overthrow the 2020 election verdict by riding roughshod over voters’ rights and thereby securing the presidency
Chutkan denounced Trump’s protective order, which barred him from publicly divulging crucial material in the case.
Last week, Trump pleaded not guilty to four criminal counts linked to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the court warned Trump’s lawyers, who did not attend the hearing, about making public statements that could potentially intimidate witnesses.
Whether or not Trump’s public words are protected by the protection order, she added, if they result in the intimidation of a witness or the obstruction of justice, she will carefully examine them.
“President Trump will scrupulously abide by his conditions of release,” said Trump’s lawyer, John Lauro.Later, Chutkan stated that “even ambiguous statements from either party or counsel… can endanger the process,” according to CNN.
Her order defines sensitive information as grand jury secrets, including subpoenaed information and witness testimony; transcripts and recordings of witness interviews conducted by investigators other than the grand jury; evidence obtained through court-approved searches; and sealed orders pertaining to the investigation. Other government organisations, such as the Secret Service, are also included in the evidence Trump cannot reveal publicly.