OAN’s Abril Elfi
11:32 AM – Friday, August 11, 2023
A federal judge in 45th President Donald Trump’s case gave a mixed ruling on the protective order as she sided with defense lawyers but gave prosecutors the final upper hand.
On Friday, Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan who is overseeing the January 6th case involving the 45th president has mostly sided with his defense lawyers on a protection order over evidence, but she gave prosecutors the upper hand by expanding the scope of what information qualifies as “sensitive” and can be protected.
The first hearing was held in D.C. at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse. Chutkan stated that she supported the legal counsel for Trump, who argued that only “sensitive” information should be kept secret in their proposed order. The order from the Trump campaign would not apply to the release of “non-sensitive” information.
However, she agreed with prosecutors on a number of points pertaining to the order, such as the demand that all recordings, transcripts, and reports of witness testimony be deemed “sensitive” information. She also turned down the Trump team’s request to increase the number of people who could access the discovery information.
Chutkan, an Obama appointee, is known for being the “toughest punisher” in cases involving the events on January 6th.
“The fact that he’s tuning a political campaign has to yield to the orderly administration of justice,” Chutkan stated.
She suggested that Trump might release evidence about former Vice President Mike Pence’s testimony, for example, to denigrate him as a witness.
“The defendant’s desire to respond to political opponents has to yield,” Chutkan said. “There are limits. This is a criminal case. The need for this case to proceed in a normal order means there are going to be limits on the defendant’s speech.”
She also told Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, that a protective order affecting the presidential campaign was not her concern.
Trump’s defense team attempted to convince the judge that the government’s request was so wide that Trump would be unable to respond to political criticism on the campaign trail without breaking the protective order.
Though she agreed with their argument that not all of the evidence acquired by the federal grand jury is covered by the protective order, Chutkan concluded that witness interviews and other “sensitive” documents must be kept secret.
According to the press more than 800 cases have been filed thus far by the Justice Department, making this the largest prosecution in agency history.
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