U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan warned Donald Trump and his attorney Friday that repeated “inflammatory” statements about his latest criminal prosecution would force her to speed his trial on charges related to his bid to subvert the 2020 election.
“I caution you and your client to take special care in your public statements about this case,” Chutkan told Trump lawyer John Lauro during a hearing. “I will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the integrity of these proceedings.”
Chutkan’s stark admonition came at the conclusion of her first courtroom session in the newest criminal case against the former president. The aim of the hearing was for special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors and Trump’s attorneys to hash out disputes about the handling of evidence in the case. Once Chutkan enters a so-called “protective order” governing evidence, prosecutors say they’re prepared to share millions of pages of documents with Trump’s team, jumpstarting the case and setting it on a path to trial.