Trump brands judge in election conspiracy case 'biased and unfair'

The former president had been warned not to discuss details of the case online - but did so anyway.

Donald Trump has attacked the federal judge overseeing the election conspiracy case against him, days after she warned him not to make inflammatory statements about the situation.

The former president made posts on Monday on his social media network calling US District Judge Tanya Chutkan “highly partisan” and “very biased and unfair” because of her past comments in a separate case overseeing the sentencing of one of the defendants charged in the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.

Ms Chutkan in a hearing on Friday imposed a protective order in the case limiting what evidence handed over by prosecutors the former president and his legal team can publicly disclose.

She warned Trump’s lawyers that his defence should be mounted in the courtroom and “not on the internet”.

Trump posted about the case online anyway, firing off about the judge.

A spokesperson for special counsel Jack Smith declined to comment on Monday.

Prosecutors sought the protective order after calling attention to another earlier post on Trump’s social media platform, in which he said he would be “coming after” those who “go after” him.

The prosecutors said improper of sharing evidence could have a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses”.

Ms Chutkan said that if anyone makes “inflammatory” statements about the case, she would be inclined to move more quickly to trial to prevent any intimidation of witnesses or contamination of the jury pool.

The judge agreed with Trump’s defence team on a looser version of a protective order barring the public release only of materials deemed sensitive, like grand jury material.

But prosecutors consider most of the evidence in the case to be sensitive, and she largely sided with the government on what will get that label and protections.

Protective orders are standard in criminal cases to protect the disclosure of sensitive information that could impact the trial.

In his social media post on Monday, Trump quoted from remarks Ms Chutkan made in a 2022 sentencing hearing for Christine Priola, an Ohio woman who pleaded guilty last year to obstructing Congress’ certification of President Biden’s electoral victory – one of the same charges Trump is facing.

“The people who mobbed that Capitol were there in fealty, in loyalty, to one man – not to the Constitution, of which most of the people who come before me seem woefully ignorant; not to the ideals of this country, and not to the principles of democracy,” Ms Chutkan said, according to a transcript of the October 2022 hearing.

“It’s a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.”

Prosecutors with special counsel Mr Smith’s team have asked the judge to set a January 2 trial date, which is less than two weeks before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. That prompted other angry posts online from Trump last week.

Trump and his lawyers claimed prosecutors’ proposed protective order that sought to prevent the public release of all evidence they provide the defence would violate his First Amendment rights of free speech.

And the Republican has vowed to keep talking about the case — and his other legal challenges — as he campaigns again for the White House.

Trump spoke about the case while he was campaigning at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend, declining to tell reporters whether he would comply with the protective order.

He said: “The whole thing is a fake — it was put out by Biden, because they can’t win an election the fair way.”

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