WASHINGTON — A proposed gag order aimed at reining in Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric puts the judge overseeing his federal election interference case in a tricky position: She must balance the need to protect the integrity of the legal proceedings against the First Amendment rights of a presidential candidate to defend himself in public.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan will hear arguments Monday in Washington over whether Trump has gone too far with remarks such as calling prosecutors a “team of thugs” and one possible witness “a gutless pig.”
It is the biggest test yet for Chutkan, underscoring the unprecedented complexities of prosecuting the former Republican president as the judge vows not to let political considerations guide her decisions.
Ending the stream of Trump’s harsh language would make the case easier to manage. But among the difficult questions Chutkan must navigate is how any gag order might be enforced and how one could be fashioned that does not risk provoking Trump’s base and fueling his claims of political persecution as he campaigns to retake the White House in 2024.