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Home High profile A federal judge is defending a gag order in Trump's hush-money trial, warning about an increase in threats and expressing concern about the direction of the country towards 'tyranny'

A federal judge is defending a gag order in Trump's hush-money trial, warning about an increase in threats and expressing concern about the direction of the country towards 'tyranny'

A longtime judge who memorably said that former Attorney General Bill Barr “distorted” the findings of the Mueller report is now sounding the alarm about threats against judges.

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Donald Trump, Judge Reggie Walton

The image shows Donald Trump and Judge Reggie Walton on CNN on March 28, 2024.

A judge appointed by Republican presidents who previously commented on the Mueller report is now raising concerns about the increased threats against judges and their families.distortedJudge Reggie Walton, a senior U.S. District Judge, appeared on CNN and discussed the gag order issued in Donald Trump's hush-money case.

The former president has been attacking Justice Juan Merchan and the judge's daughter, claiming that the prosecution is politically motivated.

Similar to his actions in a civil fraud trial, Trump has intensified his attacks on the judge and their clerk. Trump has accused Judge Juan Merchan of bias and demanded her removal from his case, citing her political leanings.Trump has targeted the judge's daughter, alleging that she and her father are conspiring against him based on social media posts.

In a post on Thursday, Trump called out the judge's daughter, even though the cited social media posts were not hers, to support his claims. Trump specifically mentioned the judge's daughter in a post on Thursday, falsely attributing social media posts to her and accusing her and her father of targeting him.The former president directed his criticism towards the judge's daughter in a post on Thursday. just one day Trump referenced social media posts that did not belong to the judge's daughter to falsely accuse her and her father of targeting him. Trump cited social media posts that were not made by the judge's daughter to claim that she and her father are working against him.

Judge Walton was asked about Justice Merchan's decision not to include himself and his family in the gag order. gag order.

Despite expressing concern about the former president's actions, Judge Walton stated that such behavior has become more common in recent years.charlatanJudge Walton expressed his discomfort with the former president's targeting of a judge's family before the scheduled trial, acknowledging that he and his own daughter have faced threats.

Judge Walton emphasized the seriousness of threats against judges and their families, highlighting that it undermines the rule of law and should not be tolerated.

More Law&Crime coverage: Bush-appointed judge fears U.S. becoming 'banana republic' under Trump

The judge acknowledged that while such targeting should not occur, it has happened and may happen again, citing past tragic incidents involving threats to judges' families. Judge Esther Salas’ husband was shot and her son was murdered in a 2020 case in New Jersey, which the judge mentioned as an example of the tragic consequences of threats against judges' families. by a “Judge Walton referenced a men’s rights attorney who appeared before a judge and the subsequent tragic incidents that followed, including a 2005 case in Chicago where a man killed a judge’s husband and mother after the jurist threw out his lawsuit. Judge Walton mentioned a 2005 case in Chicago where a man killed a judge’s husband and mother after the jurist dismissed his lawsuit. Judge Walton referenced a 2005 case in Chicago where a man killed a judge’s husband and mother after the jurist dismissed his lawsuit. The interviewer noted that she couldn't engage in political discussions but asked if Donald Trump considers the possible consequences of his posts targeting judges' families.

Judge Walton highlighted that while he can't speak for Trump's intentions, anyone in a position of power should realize that their statements can prompt action, even if unintended.

Judge Juan Merchan is pictured in his office in New York on Thursday, March 14, 2024. He may be the first judge to oversee a previous U.S. president’s criminal trial. He is currently presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money case in New York.

Juan Merchan

The judge also Merchan “did the right thing” by excluding himself and his family from

the gag order. “I think we cannot make ourselves a part of the case. I mean, obviously, we are a part of the case, because we’re presiding over the proceeding. But we can’t make the case and the issue about us,” Walton said. “And that can be very difficult. But it comes with the territory.”

And unfortunately, the judge of four decades said, what comes with the territory has noticeably changed: Jan. 6 cases have led to a “greater number of threats.”

“Yes, I’ve had more threats than what used to be the case. Yes, I have received a greater number of threats, as a result of that incident, and the fact that cases arising out of that incident have appeared before me,” Walton said. “I mean, it was rare. I’ve been a judge for over 40 years. And this is a new phenomenon. I’m not saying that it didn’t happen before. But it was very rare that I would you ever receive any type of a threat, regardless of what type of cases I was handling. And unfortunately, that is no longer the case.”

“I know the Marshals Service has seen a significant increase, in the number of threats against judges. And I think obviously, that’s very — very concerning,” he added. Walton said that the new normal of judges routinely being threatened by rabid partisans, potentially impacting the decision-making of the courts, places America on the path to “tyranny” if it doesn’t stop.

“And I think it’s important that as judges, we speak out, and say things, and reference to things that conceivably are going to impact on the process. Because if we don’t have a viable court system, that’s able to function efficiently, then we have tyranny,” he concluded. “And I don’t think that would be good for the future of our country, and the future of democracy in our country.”

Before Walton was appointed by then President George W. Bush to his federal judgeship, he was appointed to the D.C. Superior Court by then President George H.W. Bush and, before that, by then President Ronald Reagan.

Walton is also remembered for his appointment by Chief Justice John Roberts to preside

over the FISA court and for sentencing Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, to federal prison for his role in the Plame Affair. Trump went on to pardon Libby A longtime judge who memorably said that former Attorney General Bill Barr “distorted” the findings of the Mueller report is now sounding the alarm about threats against judges. in 2018.

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