Donald Trump has called for the judge in his most recent federal indictment to be removed from the case after she issued a ruling against him.
The ex-president launched his attack on District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan on Sunday morning, days after he appeared before her in court to plead not guilty to four federal charges stemming from a Department of Justice investigation into his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the subsequent January 6 attack on the Capitol.
The day after the arraignment took to Truth Social with a post seemingly threatening revenge on those pursuing him.
“IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” the ex-president wrote.
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team cited that post in a Friday request for Judge Chutkan to issue a protective order that would limit what discovery evidence Mr Trump and his legal can share publicly.
The judge responded by giving Mr Trump’s team until 5pm Monday to respond to the request and pitch amendments to the prosecution’s proposed order.
Mr Trump’s team asked for a three-day extension to respond, but that request was denied by Judge Chutkan.
Then came another Truth Social post attacking the judge.
“THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GET A FAIR TRIAL WITH THE JUDGE ‘ASSIGNED’ TO THE RIDICULOUS FREEDOM OF SPEECH/FAIR ELECTIONS CASE. EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS, AND SO DOES SHE!” he wrote.
“WE WILL BE IMMEDIATELY ASKING FOR RECUSAL OF THIS JUDGE ON VERY POWERFUL GROUNDS, AND LIKEWISE FOR VENUE CHANGE, OUT IF (sic) D.C.”
That post goes to the heart of prosecutors’ argument for why the protective order is needed: Mr Trump’s prolific use of social media.
“All the proposed order seeks to prevent is the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including to the public,” prosecutors wrote in the protective order request.
“Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him,” it continued.
Mr Trump has continuously attacked prosecutors, judges, witnesses and more involved in his many legal battles to maintain his innocence and discredit their arguments.
Before the indictment against the ex-president was made public on 1 August, Mr Trump used Truth Social to inform his followers he expected to be federally indicted at 5pm and called the prosecutor, Jack Smith, “deranged”.
The protective order would limit what Mr Trump and his attorneys could publicly say in order to protect the integrity of the case.
Mr Trump’s campaign issued a statement regarding the request for the protective order saying, “The Truth post cited is the definition of political speech, and was in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch brothers and the Club for No Growth.”
Mr Trump’s attorneys have publicly used the First Amendment as a defence against the indictment which charges Mr Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy against rights and obstruction of, and attempt to obstruct, an official proceeding.
They have argued that the statements Mr Trump issued claiming there was election fraud and he actually won the 2020 election were only “political speech” and he had a right to say them.
The indictment clearly mentions that while Mr Trump had the right to say what he wanted he unlawfully took steps to try and change election results in his favour.