Donald Trump has called for the removal of District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan from his federal indictment case after she ruled against him. This comes after the ex-president pleaded not guilty to four federal charges related to his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election and the Capitol attack on January 6th. Following his arraignment, Trump made a post on Truth Social, seemingly threatening revenge against those pursuing him. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team cited this post in a request for a protective order to limit the public sharing of discovery evidence. Judge Chutkan gave Trump’s team until Monday to respond to the request, which they requested a three-day extension for, but it was denied. In response, Trump made another post on Truth Social attacking the judge and expressing doubt about receiving a fair trial.
Prosecutors argue that the protective order is necessary due to Trump’s prolific use of social media. They claim that the order seeks to prevent the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, particularly because Trump has previously made public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, and attorneys involved in his legal matters. Trump has continuously attacked prosecutors, judges, and witnesses to maintain his innocence and discredit their arguments. Prior to the indictment being made public, Trump used Truth Social to inform his followers that he expected to be federally indicted and referred to the prosecutor, Jack Smith, as “deranged.”
The protective order would restrict what Trump and his attorneys can publicly say in order to protect the integrity of the case. Trump’s campaign released a statement in response to the request, claiming that the cited Truth post is political speech and criticizing special interest groups and Super PACs that they believe are behind the indictment. Trump’s attorneys have used the First Amendment as a defense against the indictment, arguing that his statements about election fraud and winning the 2020 election were political speech protected by the right to free speech. However, the indictment points out that while Trump had the right to express his opinions, he unlawfully took steps to try and change the election results in his favor.