Donald Trump is assailing the federal judge overseeing the election conspiracy case against him, days after she warned him not to make inflammatory statements about the case.
The former president made posts Monday on his social media network calling U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan “highly partisan” and “ VERY BIASED & UNFAIR!” because of her past comments in a separate case overseeing the sentencing of one of the defendants charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Chutkan in a hearing Friday imposed a protective order in the case limiting what evidence handed over by prosecutors the former president and his legal team can publicly disclose. She warned Trump’s lawyers that his defense should be mounted in the courtroom and “not on the internet.”
Trump posted about the case online anyway, firing off about the judge.
A spokesperson for special counsel Jack Smith declined to comment Monday.
Prosecutors sought the protective order after calling attention to another earlier post on Trump’s social media platform, in which he said he would be “coming after” those who “go after” him. The prosecutors said improper of sharing evidence could have a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses.”
Chutkan said that if anyone makes “inflammatory” statements about the case, she would be inclined to move more quickly to trial to prevent any intimidation of witnesses or contamination of the jury pool.
The judge agreed with Trump’s defense team on a looser version of a protective order barring the public release only of materials deemed sensitive, like grand jury material. But prosecutors consider most of the evidence in the case to be sensitive, and she largely sided with the government on what will get that label and protections.
Protective orders are standard in criminal cases to protect the disclosure of sensitive information that could impact the trial.
In his social media post Monday, Trump quoted from remarks Chutkan made in a 2022 sentencing hearing for Christine Priola, an Ohio woman who pleaded guilty last year to obstructing Congress’ certification of Biden’s electoral victory – one of the same charges Trump is facing.
“The people who mobbed that Capitol were there in fealty, in loyalty, to one man — not to the Constitution, of which most of the people who come before me seem woefully ignorant; not to the ideals of this country, and not to the principles of democracy,” Chutkan said, according to a transcript of the October 2022 hearing. “It’s a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.”