OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump appeared ready to defy a court order sought by special counsel Jack Smith that would limit what he could say publicly about his Jan. 6 case.
On Tuesday, Trump pledged that he “will talk” about the criminal charges he is now facing over allegations he attempted to overturn the 2020 election, accusing federal prosecutors of “taking away my First Amendment rights,” as NBC News reported.
The outlet added:
Last week, Special Counsel Jack Smith asked U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to impose a so-called protective order that would prevent Trump from disclosing evidence the government turns over to his lawyers as part of the discovery process.
Trump’s own lawyers chose not to object to a protective order and instead requested that the judge put in place a version that is “less restrictive” than the one proposed by the government. Trump’s lawyers asked Chutkan to shield only “genuinely sensitive materials” in order to protect his rights.
But Trump is fighting on multiple fronts as he tries to beat three indictments and win back the presidency. On Tuesday, when he chided prosecutors and President Joe Biden, Trump was battling in the political arena at a rally here.
Trump said President Joe Biden “wants the thug prosecutor, this deranged guy, to file a court order taking away my First Amendment rights so that I can’t speak,” to a raucous crowd in Windham, N.H.
He said not answering questions from the media about the case is “not good for votes” as he angles for a rematch with Biden next year.
“I will talk about it, I will,” he said. “They’re not taking away my First Amendment rights.”
Apart from the federal charges linked to the 2020 election, Trump is facing indictments in state court in New York and federal court in Florida. Additionally, the possibility of state charges in Georgia, where he attempted to contest his loss in the 2020 state election, also looms over him.
Chutkan on Monday rejected a plea from the former president’s legal team to move a hearing on the possible protective order past the Friday deadline she had set, Mediaite reported.
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team said that they were prepared for a hearing any day this week, but Trump’s attorneys said they were busy and asked for a delay.
“President Trump will not appear. However, he would like to have both his counsel John Lauro and Todd Blanche at the hearing. Todd Blanche is not available on Thursday, since he must appear for a court proceeding in the prosecution brought against the same defendant, President Trump, by the Special Counsel in SD Florida. Mr. Lauro is available on Thursday, with a preference for an afternoon setting. However, since we lost Friday as an option, we would respectfully request a setting on Monday (after 12:00 p.m.) or Tuesday (all day) to allow for both Mr. Blanche and Mr. Lauro to be present,” Trump’s attorneys said in their plea.
On Tuesday, Trump pal and former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly told radio host Sid Rosenberg there is one witness who could sink the former president in the Jan. 6 case.
“So there’s only one guy that can convict Donald Trump, and that’s Mike Pence,” he said. “If Pence goes into the courtroom and says ‘Donald Trump knew the election was not a fraud, but he said it anyway, and I can prove it, and here’s the proof,’ Donald Trump goes down.”
He did say that he was doubtful that the former vice president could provide proof, but “If somebody like Mark Meadows would say ‘Yeah, I was in the same conversation and Trump said X, Y, and Z,’ the jury in the trial, whatever gets there, that would be really damning.”