Trump’s Attorneys Argue Special Counsel’s Proposed Protective Order Would Violate His Free Speech Rights

Donald Trump’s legal team told the Washington, DC federal judge overseeing the federal election conspiracy case against him that prosecutors’ requested protective order is overly broad and would restrict his right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.


Donald Trump’s legal team told the Washington, DC federal judge overseeing the federal election conspiracy case against him that prosecutors’ requested protective order is overly broad and would restrict his right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

  • Trump’s attorney instead asked Judge Tanya Chutkan to hand down a more restrained order to prevent the release of “sensitive” materials like grand jury documents rather than all of the evidence the government plans to use to make its case against the former president.
  • “In a trial about First Amendment rights, the government seeks to restrict First Amendment rights,” Trump’s legal team wrote in their Monday filing. “Worse, it does so against its administration’s primary political opponent.”
  • Special Counsel Jack Smith responded to the Trump legal team by accusing them of trying to use the government’s evidence to “try the case in the media rather than in the courtroom.”
  • Smith and his legal team requested the protective order on Friday, which would impose restrictions on what Trump and his attorneys can do with the government’s evidence in the run-up to the trial.
  • They justified this request by claiming that Trump could share sensitive information online to create a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses.” To support their filing, Smith’s legal team included one of Trump’s Truth Social posts from Friday where he wrote “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU.”
  • Trump’s decision to ramp up attacks on former Vice President Mike Pence, a potential witness in the trial, may lend credence to Smith’s arguments. Over the weekend, Trump skewered “Liddle’ Mike Pence” for going to the “Dark Side” and called him “delusional” and “not a very good person.”
  • Trump’s team countered by pointing to a tweet from President Joe Biden’s personal account hawking “Dark Brandon” mugs for his 2024 reelection campaign. The “Dark Brandon” meme is popular with left-leaning social media users and is meant to represent Biden’s cunning alter ego.
  • “President Biden has likewise capitalized on the indictment, posting a thinly veiled reference to his administration’s prosecution of President Trump just hours before arraignment,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.
  • The former president attacked Judge Chutkan, who was randomly assigned to preside over his case, in personal terms on Sunday. “THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GET A FAIR TRIAL WITH THE JUDGE ‘ASSIGNED’ TO THE RIDICULOUS FREEDOM OF SPEECH/FAIR ELECTIONS CASE,” Trump posted on Truth Social. “EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS, AND SO DOES SHE!”
  • “Deranged Jack Smith is going before his number one draft pick, the Judge of his ‘dreams’ (WHO MUST BE RECUSED!), in an attempt to take away my FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS — This, despite the fact that he, the DOJ, and his many Thug prosecutors, are illegally leaking, everything and anything, to the Fake News Media!!!” Trump posted. Trump claimed he’d call for Chutkan’s recusal “on very powerful grounds” but did not say what those would be.
  • It’s unclear why the former president thinks attacking a federal judge in personal terms would make her more inclined to rule in his favor, though the statements could be a ploy designed to allow him to claim bias if she rules against him after he attacked her.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Trump experienced another legal setback on Monday after a federal judge threw out Trump’s defamation countersuit against E. Jean Carroll, the New York Times reported. Trump was found liable for sexually abusing and defaming Carroll at a civil trial in New York earlier this year.
  • “The goal of the defendant’s proposed protective order—pretrial publicity—is antithetical to the interests of Justice,” Smith’s team argued in their counter-filing on Monday night, according to CNN. Judge Chutkan plans to hold a hearing later this week to settle the dispute.
  • NBC News covered in further detail the filing from Trump’s legal team. “The government requests the Court assume the role of censor and impose content-based regulations on President Trump’s political speech that would forbid him from publicly discussing or disclosing all non-public documents produced by the government, including both purportedly sensitive material and non sensitive potentially exculpatory documents,” Trump’s attorneys argued.



  • The Wall Street Journal covered another looming legal threat to Trump: the growing likelihood that he’ll be charged with racketeering in the Georgia election interference probe. The Journal reported Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is thought to be likely to invoke Georgia’s RICO Act to show Trump led a group of people to commit crimes in an effort to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, which President Biden carried narrowly.
  • Fox News reported on a positive legal development for Trump, this one coming from the classified documents criminal trial in Florida. Presiding Judge Aileen Cannon denied two requests from the special counsel’s office for sealed filings in the case and asked prosecutors to explain their decision to use an out-of-state grand jury “to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district.”
  • The New York Post covered a new development in the DC election conspiracy case: former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik met with federal investigators for roughly five hours on Friday. Kerik, a longtime ally of Trump and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, testified extensively about Giuliani’s actions in between the election and Jan. 6, according to his lawyer.


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© Dominic Moore, 2023