Former president Donald Trump has again lashed out at the District of Columbia judge who will preside over his criminal trial and the prosecutor who brought the case against him for allegedly conspiring to disrupt the certification of electoral votes following his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.
Mr Trump on Monday wrote on his Truth Social platform that Jack Smith, the Department of Justice special prosecutor who has obtained two federal indictments against him since June, is “going before his number one draft pick, the Judge of his ‘dreams’ (WHO MUST BE RECUSED!)” in an effort to “take away” the ex-president’s First Amendment rights.
The twice-impeached, thrice-indicted former president was referring to a series of court filings in which Mr Smith is seeking a standard protective order to prevent Mr Trump from disclosing information that the government is set to turn over to him and his defence team as part of the pre-trial discovery process.
Prosecutors, citing Mr Trump’s penchant for “public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him,” asked Judge Tanya Chutkan to impose an order barring the former president from disclosing discovery materials “directly or indirectly to any person or entity other than persons employed to assist in the defense, persons who are interviewed as potential witnesses, counsel for potential witnesses, and other persons to whom the Court may authorize disclosure”.
Mr Trump’s attorneys asked the judge for extra time to compose a response to the government’s motion, but Judge Chutkan quickly ordered the defence to respond by 5pm along with a proposal for an alternative protective order.
The former president has a history of disclosing sensitive materials so the names of people involved in court proceedings against him could be leaked to his supporters.
After the FBI searched his Palm Beach, Florida home on 8 August 2022, an unredacted copy of a search warrant receipt that had been given to his attorneys was published by Breitbart News, allowing the names of FBI agents involved in the search to become public.
According to subsequent court filings, the agents who were named on the document were inundated with death threats after their names became known to the ex-president’s supporters.
Mr Trump has in recent days taken to posting attacks on Judge Chutkan, a respected former member of the Washington DC defence bar who was named to the bench by then-president Barack Obama. in 2014.
He has done so despite an admonition from Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya at his arraignment last week that his bail could be revoked if he violated his terms of release by committing new crimes, including attempting to threaten or bribe witnesses or “otherwise obstruct the administration of justice”.
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