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Trump’s right to free speech on Jan 6 event is not absolute, says judge

Judge warns Trump against making ‘inflammatory’ remarks before trial. Image Source: IANS News

Washington, Aug 12 : The US district Judge Tanya Chutkan has told former President Donald Trump that his right to free speech regarding on January 6, 2020 events is not absolute.

She also slapped a protective order on Trump from disclosing any sensitive information on the event pre-trial.

Chutkan had also earlier warned Trump not to make any inflammatory speeches before the trial. She is setting the limits on how the former president can handle the evidence prosecutors will turn over to him from time to time during the trial.

Chutkan, appointed by former president Barack Obama, is known to be tough and she kicked off the hearing Friday at the DC federal courthouse saying that Trump’s rights as a criminal defendant would be protected.

She said that however adding his recourse to free speech under the first amendment to the constitution was not absolute.

Judges are appointed at random in the US judicial system and 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 said.

She closed the hearing assuring that the Trump case would advance like any other normal proceeding in the criminal justice system with the warning that any” inflammatory” statements by any party, the faster she would be compelled to hold the trial to preserve a fair jury.

“It is a bedrock principle of the judicial process in this country,” she said, while quoting a precedent, “those legal trials are not like elections, to be won through the use of the meeting hall, the radio and the 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 Trumps legal counsels not to bring up any false evidence that may 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 attempts to conspire and plot an overthrow the 2020 election verdict riding roughshod over the voters rights and thereby subverting democracy.

An Obama appointee and former public defender who has overseen several cases regarding the events of January 6, 2021, Chutkan has spoken out in a non partisan manner on the January 6 Capitos Hills insurrection and on what harm it caused to American democracy.

Chutkan slammed a protective order on Trump prohibiting him from publicly disclosing sensitive information in the case.

Trump pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election last week, and the judge cautioned lawyers for Trump, who did not attend the hearing, about any public statements by their client that could possibly intimidate witnesses.

Whether or not Trump’s public statements are covered by the protective order that’s issued, she said, if they result in the intimidation of a witness or the obstruction of justice, I will be scrutinising them very carefully.

Trump’s lawyer John Lauro said: “President Trump will scrupulously abide by his conditions of release. “Later on, Chutkan said that “even ambiguous statements from either party or counsel … can threaten the process, CNN reported.”

Her order defines sensitive information as grand jury secrets, including subpoenaed information and witness testimony; transcripts and recordings of witness interviews done by investigators outside of the grand jury; evidence obtained through court-approved searches; and sealed orders related to the investigation. The evidence Trump cannot share publicly also includes material from other government agencies, such as the Secret Service.

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