Donald Trump Takes Legal Risk by Sharing Tanya Chutkan Claims

Experts have cautioned that Donald Trump could face legal ramifications after posting social media messages criticizing the judge supervising his January 6 trial.

Donald Trump Takes Legal Risk by Sharing Tanya Chutkan Claims
Donald Trump Takes Legal Risk by Sharing Tanya Chutkan Claims

On Sunday, Trump shared a post on Truth Social from right-wing activist and lawyer Mike Davis in which he falsely accused U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan of “admitted” to engaging in election interference against the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 while overseeing the federal proceedings.
Trump also shared an early Monday comment from Chutkan, which she provided in October 2022 while sentencing a woman, Christine Priola, in connection with the Capitol disturbance, when the judge claimed her wrongdoing was the product of “blind loyalty to one person, by the way, who, by the way, remains free to this day.”
“She obviously wants me imprisoned.” “VERY BIASED & UNFAIR,” Trump wrote in a subsequent tweet.

During a Friday hearing on whether to impose a pre-trial protective order, Chutkan warned the former president and his lawyers about Trump’s “inflammatory” words. Federal prosecutors said that the move was required to prevent Trump from discussing evidence publicly or intimidating possible witnesses in the investigation.

Chutkan dismissed Trump’s lawyer’s suggestions that the order would violate his First Amendment right to free speech in her ruling granting a protective motion, making clear that he would be treated as any other defendant, even while on presidential campaign.

Chutkan further cautioned that any disobedience of the injunction or potentially negative public comments could result in her arranging for a quick trial to avoid a corrupted jury pool or witness intimidation.

“The effects of my order on a political campaign will not influence my decision.” “This is a criminal trial,” stated Chutkan.

“The more a party says inflammatory things about this case that could taint the jury pool or intimidate potential witnesses, the more important it is that we go to trial to ensure a jury pool from which we can select an impartial jury.”

Legal experts now believe that the court may question Trump about his recent social media posts. Trump’s legal staff has been contacted by email for comment.

“It would not surprise me if Judge Chutkan called a hearing, with Trump’s presence, given his new remarks,” Neal Katyal, a lawyer and former acting United States attorney general, said on X, formerly Twitter.

During the next pre-trial hearing on August 28 to discuss a prospective trial date, retired attorney @TirahAtt detailed the various repercussions Chutkan could impose for Trump’s social media posting.

“If he’s [Trump] been particularly aggressive in his posting, she might set an early trial date at the conference (but we won’t know if she would have set such a date anyway),” she wrote on X. “Of course, if he violates the protective order or goes after witnesses, she may summon him or his attorneys before the 28th to read him the riot act/modify the protective order, and so on.”

Former Pentagon Special Counsel Ryan Goodman also published a screenshot of Trump’s Truth Social post on X, mentioning Chutkan’s previous “inflammatory” warning.

If the judge decides that Trump breached the protective order, he could be held in contempt of court and face a fine or jail time.

However, Joshua Ritter, a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, recently stated that if Trump is found to have violated the conditions of the injunction with his social media statements, he is unlikely to be imprisoned.

“Usually, if the judge feels the defendant has violated a protective order, she will haul everyone into court and give a real tongue lashing against the defendant, warning him of the severity and seriousness of it,” Ritter told Newsweek.

“If the violation isn’t too serious and more along the lines of pushing the envelope, it will most likely end with that warning.”

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