WASHINGTON (CNN) — Donald Trump’s frustration over limits on public speaking in the 2020 election conspiracy case is fueling his plans to continue posting about it on social media after attacking Judge Tanya Sudkan over the weekend and warning him not to intimidate witnesses. According to sources close to the former president, obstruct justice or attempt to obscure their ability to conduct a fair trial.
Trump criticized Obama-appointed Judge Sutkan as “very biased” and “very biased and unfair” at the Truth Social early Monday, an early test of the limits Sutkan placed on Trump’s speech as a criminal defendant before the law.
The former president has insisted that he has a First Amendment right to defend himself publicly and has always considered social media to communicate directly with his constituents. .
“She would share what she felt was necessary, and if she had a problem with it, [ella] will address it,” a Trump adviser said, referring to Sutkan.
That could prove dangerous for the former president. If Trump crosses a line with his social media posts, it’s plausible that Justice Department lawyers will take the matter to court.
Chudgan could impose further restrictions on him, including revoking his ability to await trial outside jail.
Sources close to Trump insist that the former president has privately insisted that he is being unfairly persecuted by the US justice system and that he is turning to Truth Social to share his personal views on the “injustice” he faces.
It’s not clear how Trump’s lawyers advised him after Sudkan’s directives and warnings on Friday. In the first hearing with lawyers and Trump’s team on Friday, the judge said there was no political motive on the part of the special counsel’s office.
Trump’s legal team acknowledges the need to approach his posting carefully, his advisers told CNN, but they don’t expect Trump to completely stop posting about the 2020 voter tampering case or other cases he’s connected to. He is running for president.
“Anyone who thinks they’re going to actually control what they post or what they say in interviews with the media is kidding themselves,” one Trump adviser said.
Several former Trump lawyers have struggled to contain their anger on social media over the investigations, which have fueled a series of rifts between the former president and his attorneys.
Despite Trump’s frustration, attorneys working with the former president were generally satisfied with the results of Friday’s hearing and Sudkan’s findings, according to sources close to the former president.
“What he said in the presentation was that it’s not a hard and fast rule to not post anything specific. It’s very general,” a Trump adviser told CNN. “It doesn’t seem strong enough.”
Sudgan ordered Trump not to obstruct justice or intimidate witnesses as part of his pending-trial conditions. On Friday, a judge set specific limits on the type of information you can share publicly as the Justice Department prepares to share evidence gathered during its investigation. He has yet to set a trial date, although the Justice Department has called for jury selection to begin in December.
Lawyers around Trump see Sudkan as a fair and experienced judge who sends a strong message to Trump about the lines he can’t cross before trial. They also reiterated to CNN that they do not believe his messages until now, despite the court’s cross-injunctions barring him from bullying.
Following Supreme Court precedent, Sudkhan made it clear that courts have the power to limit free speech, especially when trying to ensure a fair trial for a criminal defendant.
“He said you know he has a First Amendment right … to put that in the context of a presidential campaign, doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense,” the Trump adviser added.
On Friday, one of Trump’s attorneys in court agreed with the judge that witness-intimidating speech would cross court boundaries.
“I can assure you that my client will maintain operational integrity, but he cannot be the subject of some kind of contempt trap,” argued Trump’s lawyer, John LaRoe. Sudgen largely agreed with the limits on evidence requested by Lauro and another Trump lawyer, Todd Blanch, in the investigation.
Sutkan said Friday that he would work to avoid a “festive atmosphere of uncontrolled publicity” in the case: “The fact that he is currently running a political campaign should continue to be the proper administration of justice.” And he said: “If you can’t say exactly what you want to say about the people who might be witnesses in this case, then so be it.”
He also told the hearing that he was paying attention to Trump’s statements outside the courtroom. “Incendiary comments” that could contaminate the jury could weigh in favor of a preliminary hearing, the judge added.
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