Judge in Jan. 6 case rejects Trump's effort to have special counsel held in contempt

The judge, however, barred any substantive filings without first consulting her.

January 18, 2024, 5:12 PM

The judge overseeing the federal election interference case against former President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected an effort by Trump to have special counsel Jack Smith held in contempt for making additional filings in the case after she had issued a stay of proceedings.

The judge, however, ordered that all parties in the case are forbidden from making any further substantive filings without first seeking permission from her.

D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan noted that her previous order of a stay of proceedings in the case, issued in December, "did not clearly and unambiguously prohibit the Government actions to which [Trump] objects."

"Staying the deadline for a filing is not the same thing as affirmatively prohibiting it," she wrote.

Nevertheless, she agreed narrowly with the argument from Trump's legal team that some of the filings from Smith could require Trump's team to review them to make sure they don't have an impact on their ongoing appeal of immunity issues.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump at New York State Supreme Court in New York, on Oct. 2, 2023.
Former President Donald Trump at New York State Supreme Court in New York, on Oct. 2, 2023.
Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"While that is not a major burden, it is a cognizable one," Chutkan wrote. "Accordingly, the court will adopt Defendant's recommendation that the parties be forbidden from filing any further substantive pretrial motions without first seeking leave from the court."

A spokesperson for Trump's campaign called the judge's order a "strong rebuke" of the special counsel, saying it prohibits him "from harassing President Trump with additional filings" while the stay is in effect.

Trump in August pleaded not guilty to charges of undertaking a "criminal scheme" to overturn the results of the 2020 election by enlisting a slate of so-called "fake electors," using the Justice Department to conduct "sham election crime investigations," trying to enlist the vice president to "alter the election results," and promoting false claims of a stolen election as the Jan. 6 riot raged -- all in an effort to subvert democracy and remain in power.

The former president has denied all wrongdoing.

ABC News' Soo Run Kim contributed to this report.

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