Judge Chutkan "literally laughs" in Trump lawyer's face before issuing partial gag order

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U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday issued a limited gag order on former President Donald Trump in his Washington D.C. federal election case.

The order will bar Trump from "publicly targeting" her staff, special counsel Jack Smith and members of his staff, and any other court personnel. The ex-president is also prohibited from making inflammatory statements about the families of those individuals, as well as potential witnesses in the case.

“This is not about whether I like the language Mr. Trump uses,” the judge said. “This is about language that presents a danger to the administration of justice. His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify public servants who are simply doing their jobs."

“Mr. Trump is a criminal defendant. He is facing four felony charges. He is under the supervision of the criminal justice system and he must follow his conditions of release,” Chutkan added at the hearing.

“He does not have the right to say and do exactly what he pleases. Do you agree with that?” she asked Trump attorney John Lauro.

“100%," Lauro replied. The lawyer also accused the special counsel's office of attempting to  "prevent President Trump from speaking out about the issues of the day."

“Every single issue that relates to this case also has political issues,” Lauro added.

“When you start to use a word like ‘thug’ to describe a prosecutor doing their job, that wouldn’t be allowed by any other criminal defendant,” Chutkan said. “Just because the defendant is running a political campaign does not allow him to do whatever he wants.”

Prior to Chutkan's issuing of the order, Lauro indicated that he and his team would appeal on the basis of free speech infringement.

Chutkan was quick to quash the notion of a politically motivated protection, also undercutting Lauro's argument, which was seemingly rooted in concerns about Trump's bid for the 2024 presidency.

"After Lauro launched back into sharp arguments about Trump's free speech rights, Chutkan sought to steer him back to the particulars of the gag order litigation: 'I do not need to hear any campaign rhetoric in my court,'" reported The Messenger's Steve Reilly.

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Chutkan continued to "chafe" at Lauro's arguments during the hearing.

"'Obviously you have an audience other than me in mind,' she says, still pressing him to explain why Trump needs to call prosecutors 'thugs,'" Politico's Kyle Cheney reported.

At one point, Chutkan "literally" laughed in Lauro's face after he argued that Trump had abided by his pre-trial release conditions.

"What you have put in place respectfully is working," Lauro said, according to Politico's Josh Gerstein.

"I have to take issue with you, Mr. Lauro," Chutkan replied.

Earlier this month, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron hit the former president with a partial gag order after he attacked the judge's principal law clerk on his social media platform, TruthSocial, referring to her as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's "girlfriend."

"Personal attacks on members on my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate, and I won't tolerate it [in my courtroom]," Engoron said in court, per a report from The Messenger. "Consider this a gag order for all parties from posting about any members of my staff," he added.