Judge Chutkan must change approach with Donald Trump: Ex-Fed prosecutor

A former federal prosecutor has said the judge in Donald Trump's election fraud trial should jail him or find him guilty of contempt the next time he violates his gag order.

Neama Rahmani said news week on his reaction to the Washington, D.C. appeals court's decision to reimpose the judge Chutkan asked.The gag order on Trump. The appeals court reduced its gag order so Trump can criticize the Justice Department special counsel. Jack Smithwho is the chief prosecutor of the case.

However, the appeals court ruled that Trump cannot criticize Smith's family, as he has in the past, or court staff and officials after they received a torrent of threats from Trump supporters.

Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and now president of law firm West Coast Trial Lawyers, said it was time for Chutkan to get tough with Trump.

"All of this is meaningless unless Judge Chutkan actually enforces the gag order and revokes Trump's bail or finds him in contempt. So far, no judge has been willing to do that, other than minor, meaningless fines." Rahmani said. If Chutkan were to revoke Trump's bail for misconduct, he would have to go to jail until his trial, which will begin next March.

Triumph was charged with four counts of allegedly working to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the lead-up to the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol. Is one of four criminal cases What Trump Faces While Campaigning as a favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. He has also pleaded not guilty to charges in the other cases, denied wrongdoing and has repeatedly said they are part of a political witch hunt. news week I sought comments by email on Friday, donald trumpLawyer.

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Claremont, New Hampshire, on November 11, 2023. In reimposing a gag order on the former president on Friday, December 8, a Washington DC appeals court said Trump had criticized the wife of prosecutor Jack Smith. during the speech.
JOSÉ PREZIOSO/Getty Images

Rahmani, who tried major federal cases before entering private practice, said he was not surprised that the appeals court reinstated the gag order. It was imposed by Chutkan and temporarily lifted by the appeals court pending Friday's ruling.

"There are obviously First Amendment issues at stake for a presidential candidate, but Trump has pushed the boundaries of free speech and gag orders have been routinely upheld by appeals courts, including the Supreme CourtRahmani said.

"I'm surprised that special prosecutor Jack Smith was excluded from the order, but the court probably reasoned that Smith is a party and knew what he was getting into when he charged Trump. The same can't be said for the trial judge and other court personnel," Rahmani added.

In a statement, Trump's presidential campaign said the appeals court has lifted "a large portion of Judge Chutkan's extraordinarily broad gag order."

In its written ruling, the three-judge appeals court said it had to strike a balance between the administration of justice and Trump's freedom of speech.

He noted that "the former President has also lashed out at government officials closely involved in the criminal process. He has repeatedly called the trial judge 'biased,' a 'fraud,' and a 'pirate,' and has called prosecutors 'deranged, thugs.'" " and "lunatics." He also published posts about the Special Prosecutor's wife and spoke publicly about her at a rally after our administrative suspension from the [gag] order."

The appeals court ruling reduces Chutkan's gag order in two ways: Trump can criticize Smith and witnesses in the case, as long as his criticisms are general and not about their roles in the case.

"[TRUMP's] "The appeal involves the confluence of two overriding constitutional interests: the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment and the vital Article III duty of federal courts to ensure the fair and orderly administration of justice in criminal cases," the judges wrote.

They added that Chutkan's court had ensured that Trump's public comments criticizing Washington, DC, where the trial will take place next March, will not affect his trial.

"The district court first explained that an order restricting Mr. Trump's speech about the District of Columbia or its residents was not necessary at the time to protect against jury contamination. Instead, the district court held that, in the record before him, any such blemish could be addressed by rigorous questioning of potential jurors prior to sentencing," the appeals court wrote.

"We do not allow such an order lightly," Judge Patricia A. Millett wrote for the appeals court panel. "Mr. Trump is a former president and current presidential candidate, and there is great public interest in what he has to say. But Mr. Trump is also a criminal defendant and must be tried in court under the same procedures." which apply to all other criminal defendants. "That's what the rule of law means."

The court sharply criticized Trump's past comments about people connected to the case.

"Many of former President Trump's public statements attacking witnesses, trial participants, and court personnel pose a danger to the integrity of these criminal proceedings," Judge Millett wrote. "That danger is magnified by the predictable torrent of threats of retaliation and violence that the district court finds follows when Mr. Trump speaks forcefully against individuals in connection with this case and the fallout from the 2020 election in which he the accusation is focused".

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