U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the federal judge overseeing Mueller’s criminal case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates, has issued a gag order limiting comments to the media and the public by lawyers, defendants and witnesses in the case.
Judge Jackson’s directive doesn’t ban all public statements outright,just ones that “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.” Although Trump, to our knowledge, is not listed as a lawyer, defendant, or witness in this case, the president plays an integral role in the function of the Justice Department, especially considering the President nominates the Attorney General.
Judge Jackson is setting ground rules and sending a message to everyone even vaguely involved with this case; keep your mouth shut. After this, if Trump keeps publicly commenting on the case, Judge Jackson can possibly upgrade the gag order to stop Trump’s comments.
President Trump has made so many public statements about the indictment and case against Manafort and Gates that it’s hard to keep track of all of them, but here are just a couple posts to social media that he made.
Judge Jackson was also issuing this gag order against Manafort’s lawyer because of his “sidewalk speeches.” “This is a criminal trial and not a public-relations campaign. Do [your] talking in the courtroom, and the pleadings, and not on the courthouse steps.” Jackson said.