Judge rules on protective order in Jan. 6 case against Trump

August 12, 2023
Robert Ayers

The judge overseeing the criminal Jan. 6, 2021, case that special counsel Jack Smith has brought against former President Donald Trump has just ruled on the protective order that Smith had filed, and the ruling appears to be in Trump's favor. 

Fox News reports that the judge - U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan - issued the ruling on Friday morning, when a hearing was held on the protective order.

Smith, with the protective order, was looking to stop Trump from being able to publicly comment on the evidence that he and his legal team receive from Smith during the discovery phase of the case.

Trump's legal team, in response, argued that the order is too broad and infringed on Trump's First Amendment rights. Trump further argued that this is little more than Smith's latest attempt to interfere with Trump's 2024 campaign - by silencing President Joe Biden's top rival.

A win for Trump?

At first glance, it might appear that Chutkan ruled in favor of Trump. Chutkan, after all, did find that Smith's protective order was too broad, covering materials that ought not to be covered.

But, Chutkan ultimately ruled that "sensitive" materials will be covered by the protective order. And, her definition of "sensitive" would appear to be not too far off from Smith's.

Fox reports:

Though Chutkan ultimately agreed with Trump's defense that not all the evidence gathered by the federal grand jury falls under the protection order, she decided witness interviews and other "sensitive" materials must be kept away from the public.

Chutkan, according to the outlet, also made one other ruling in Trump's favor.

"The judge said Trump can review materials without a defense attorney present but is not allowed to have his phone with him at the time, or any device that could copy or take a picture of the materials," the outlet reports.


Many are highly skeptical of this ruling and of Chutkan. And, this is because of Chutkan's Democratic ties and her conspicuous anti-Trump bias.

Chutkan is an appointee of former President Barack Obama, and she used to work at the same controversial law firm that Hunter Biden worked at.

In addition to this, Chutkan has been one of the judges who has overseen some of the criminal cases that the federal government has brought against those who participated in the events of Jan. 6, 2021. And, in this capacity, Chutkan has consistently handed out the harshest sentences - sentences, in many cases, that are far worse than those requested by the prosecution.

With a background like this, Trump is seeking Chutkan's recusal.

It is also for these reasons that many are skeptical of Chutkan's recent ruling. Many are arguing that it is likely that Chutkan is merely trying to give the appearance of fairness considering the heavy scrutiny that she is under.

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