Obama-Appointed Federal Judge Declines To Hold Jack Smith In Contempt Of Court

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District Judge Tanya Chutkan declined to hold Special Counsel Jack Smith in contempt of court Thursday.

Though Chutkan froze proceedings in the case while former President Donald Trump’s appeal of his bid to dismiss the case based on presidential immunity is pending, prosecutors continued to file documents on the suspended deadlines, prompting Trump to request Chutkan hold them in contempt for violating the court’s order. Chutkan, an Obama appointee, responded in an order Thursday by noting that her order did not explicitly prevent the government from voluntarily continuing to file.

“The basic function of a deadline is not to authorize a filing, but to time-limit it; correspondingly, the lifting of a deadline removes that time limit but does not necessarily bar the filing,” she wrote.

“Because the Stay Order appears to have been interpreted differently by the parties, the court will clarify: If Defendant wishes to raise objections to the Government’s productions, he may do so without any risk of forfeiture if and when the mandate is returned and the court sets a new schedule,” she wrote. “Contrary to Defendant’s assertion, the court has not and will not set deadlines in this case based on the assumption that he has undertaken preparations when not required to do so.” (RELATED: Trump’s Lawyers Accuse Jack Smith Of Concealing Evidence, Working With Biden Admin)

Trump’s attorneys need not review or respond to the government’s filings, the judge noted. Nevertheless, she agreed to bar all parties from filing “any further substantive pretrial motions without first seeking leave from the court.”

“This measure is an addition to the Stay Order, aimed to further advance its purposes, and does not reflect a determination that the Government has violated any of its clear and unambiguous terms or acted in bad faith,” Chutkan wrote.

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