Judge Schedules Hearing About Limiting Trump's Comments On Jan. 6 Evidence

The protective order sought by prosecutors would limit what Donald Trump can say about the evidence they present.

The federal judge overseeing the new case against Donald Trump scheduled a hearing Friday to consider prosecutors’ request for a protective order limiting what the former president can say about the case.

Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision to schedule the hearing comes a day after Trump’s legal team asked her to reject the protective order request, arguing that it restricts his First Amendment rights. Trump ― who’s facing trial for election interference related to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol ― is not required to appear at the 10 a.m. hearing.

Shortly before Chutkan scheduled Friday’s hearing, Trump went after her on his social media site Truth Social, pointing out that she was nominated by former President Barack Obama and accusing her of having a conflict of interest in the case. Chutkan is known for being one of the toughest sentencers of the Jan. 6 rioters.

Federal prosecutors in the case made the protective order request with Chutkan last Friday, seeking to block Trump or his legal team from disclosing the government’s court materials to anyone other than people involved in the legal proceedings ahead of the trial, including grand jury witness testimony and materials obtained via sealed search warrants.

While such protective orders are not uncommon, prosecutors said it’s especially important that Trump be put under one because of his propensity for posting inflammatory statements on his social media accounts. Not issuing the protective order, they argued, could have a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case.”

Trump’s attorneys responded later Friday asking to limit any protective order to “generally sensitive” material and said the broader one sought by prosecutors would infringe on Trump’s ability to campaign for the GOP’s presidential nomination.

“In a trial about First Amendment rights, the government seeks to restrict First Amendment rights,” they wrote. “Worse, it does so against its administration’s primary political opponent, during an election season in which the administration, prominent party members, and media allies have campaigned on the indictment and proliferated its false allegations.”

The courts placed Trump under similar protective orders in his two other cases, which concern hush money payments made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels and his handling of classified documents.

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