When it rains, it pours: Donald Trump is now subject to not one but two gag orders, and the new one is more expansive than the first. Judge Tanya Chutkan, concerned about how Trump’s inflammatory statements could interfere with his trial, has ordered him to refrain from statements attacking potential witnesses, the prosecutors, or court staff. Her order isn’t as broad as the government requested — Trump is still free to criticize Judge Chutkan herself, as well as the US government and the Justice Department, though not the individual prosecuting attorneys — but it’s broad enough to be constitutionally questionable.
Trump will appeal the gag order — and Ken is pleased that this case will present an opportunity to develop law in this area, since it’s currently unclear what the Constitution demands when balancing defendants’ speech rights and the courts’ needs — but Ken doesn’t think any appeals relating to the gag order are likely to delay or impede Trump’s trial itself.
Of course, there’s also the open question of what Judge Chutkan will actually do if and when Trump violates her order.
Also on this episode, we look at two superseding indictments for members of Congress — Senator Bob Menendez and Representative George Santos. We take a look at Sam Bankman-Fried’s ongoing trial and at how being in federal custody might affect your access to Adderall. We talk about DA Fani Willis’s apparent intention to call Alex Jones to testify in the upcoming “cheese and crackers” RICO trial of Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell.
And we have an update on the case of Prof. Francesca Gino, who sued Harvard (and several of her fellow behavioral scientists) after Harvard suspended her without pay following concerns those scientists raised about data fraud in her papers. This is the academic scandal and lawsuit we discussed on our “Penal Colada” episode a couple of months back. Harvard has now responded to her lawsuit, and has some strong arguments for dismissing her defamation claims before trial.
We hope you enjoy the episode.
Episode links and references
Letter from SBF’s attorneys complaining he’s not getting the meds he needs to pay attention to his trial
Serious Trouble from August 9, 2023: “Penal Colada”