Judge In Trump Jan. 6 Case Rules Against Jack Smith

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


The federal judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 case in Washington, D.C., handed him a partial victory in a ruling handed down on Thursday.

According to reports, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan partially limited what special counsel Jack Smith is permitted to do in the alleged election interference case. Trump’s legal team submitted a motion earlier this month asking Judge Chutkan to find Smith in contempt for continuing to file documents in the case despite the judge issuing a stay order in December.

Trump has filed an appeal with the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether presidential immunity applies to the charges brought against him by Smith.

Despite Chutkan’s Dec. 13 order that stayed proceedings at the federal court level, Trump’s legal team said in its filing that Smith’s office served him with 4,000 pages of “additional discovery” on Dec. 17, including what the prosecutors’ production letter described as “several hundred video and audio recordings.”

Trump’s legal team has asked for the withdrawal of all of Smith’s discovery requests and requested that prosecutors be obligated to seek court permission before submitting any further filings “to ensure that any further attempts to violate the Stay Order will be summarily denied.”

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Chutkan, in her ruling, agreed with Trump’s team.

“The court agrees … diligent defense counsel will need to conduct a preliminary review of each substantive motion the Government files in order to know whether they need to take further action. While that is not a major burden, it is a cognizable one,” she wrote.

“Accordingly, the court will adopt Defendant’s recommendation that the parties be forbidden from filing any further substantive pretrial motions without first seeking leave from the court,” she wrote.

“Any such motion for leave to file shall state whether the proposed motion is ancillary to the pending appeal and so requires a timely response or other action before the mandate is returned,” she added.

But Chutkan did not hold Smith and his prosecutors in contempt because she said she “did not clearly and unambiguously prohibit the Government actions to which Defendant objects.”

The judge’s order had specifically stayed “the deadlines and proceedings scheduled.”

“But staying the deadline for a filing is not the same thing as affirmatively prohibiting it. The basic function of a deadline is not to authorize a filing, but to time-limit it; correspondingly, the lifting of a deadline removes that time limit but does not necessarily bar the filing,” Chutkan wrote.

In conclusion, she wrote that her order “does not reflect a determination that the Government has violated any of its clear and unambiguous terms or acted in bad faith.”

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Trump spokesman Steven Cheung responded to Chutkan’s ruling in a statement: “The D.C. District Court has issued a strong rebuke of Deranged Jack Smith, prohibiting him from harassing President Trump with additional filings and compelling him to respect the stay order in the J6 case, as the appeal on executive immunity is pending before the appellate court.”

“Crooked Joe Biden and Deranged Jack Smith were playing games with the court docket to make political and inflammatory statements critical of President Trump, while trying to help Crooked Joe. That behavior was ordered to immediately cease,” he added. “After all, no prosecutor is above the law.”

Chutkan had originally scheduled Trump’s trial for March 4, but that date may change now that he has appealed the charges on claims of presidential immunity.


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