The Obama-appointed judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s federal election interference case has denied prosecutors’ long-shot request to have Trump jailed should he violate the newly reinstated gag order that prevents him from criticizing witnesses, co-defendants, and prosecutors.
On Monday Night, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that sending President Trump to jail would not be necessary to enforce the scope of her latest ruling.
“The government also asks the court to incorporate the Order into Defendant’s conditions of release,” she wrote. “The court hereby DENIES that request without prejudice. Even assuming that request is procedurally proper, the court concludes that granting it is not necessary to effectively enforce the Order at this time.”
Judge Chutkan’s decision comes just days after she renewed a gag order against President Trump following several statements made on social media that she concluded would have violated the order had it been in place. The order was previously lifted temporarily as the president’s attorneys appealed it. However, Chutkan imposed the order again, writing, “The right to a fair trial is not [Trump’s] alone, but belongs also to the government and the public.”
In October, President Trump wrote to his followers on Truth Social expressing his opinion about a reported recent plea deal between prosecutors and Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, that would see Meadows testify against him in court. Trump wrote that “weaklings” would take plea deals, a statement Chutkan cited when reimposing the gag order.
Just hours after the gag order was implemented, however, Trump appeared to violate it again, calling his former Attorney General Bill Barr a “RINO,” or Republican in Name Only, who “wasn’t up to the job.” Barr will likely testify about his involvement in allegedly pressuring state and federal officials to change the outcome of the 2020 election in certain states.
President Trump has enjoyed considerable bumps in polling since his string of criminal convictions began. He has used Judge Chutkan as a foil, disparaging her in another Truth Social post after the gag order was handed down.
“I have just learned that the very Biased, Trump Hating Judge in D.C., who should have RECUSED herself due to her blatant and open loathing of your favorite President, ME, has reimposed a GAG ORDER which will put me at a disadvantage against my prosecutorial and political opponents,” Trump wrote.
The latest decision is one of a growing number of setbacks faced by Smith and his team as they attempt to pin President Trump down on Civil War-era charges. The Republican frontrunner has denied his guilt in all cases.