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Gag Order Reinstated Against Donald Trump

Obama-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan has reinstated a gag order against Donald Trump, lifting a temporary hold from earlier this month.

Chutkan paused the order after Trump filed a complaint it was “confusingly worded” and asked a federal appeals court toss it altogether, POLITICO reports.

Trump said the gag order unconstitutionally limited his free speech.

Surprisingly, even the far-left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the gag order is “too vague.”

From the ACLU:

The American Civil Liberties Union today submitted a motion for leave to file an amicus brief arguing that an overly-broad gag order imposed on Donald J. Trump in an ongoing election interference case violates the First Amendment. Among the key arguments within the brief include:

  • The gag order is too vague in its ban on “targeting” the prosecutor (Special Counsel), potential witnesses, and the “substance of their testimony” because it could be read to encompass mere identification of people or issues, whether or not such “targeting” is threatening or causes any harm.
  • The gag order is too broad, as it covers the Special Counsel (who is a public official) and the “substance” of any witnesses’ testimony, which will almost certainly include issues that are highly relevant to the 2024 presidential campaign.
  • The public has a right to hear speech from the defendant, especially as it affects our ability to hold fair and free elections.
  • The First Amendment provides no license to engage in unlawful speech, including incitement, threats, or solicitation of criminal activity.
  • However, the gag order currently in place is insufficiently justified since it has not shown a serious threat that the speech it prohibits will threaten the administration of justice.

POLITICO reports:

But in a nine-page Sunday evening order, Chutkan reinstated her order, rejecting his claims that the order was unclear and that it unconstitutionally restricted his free speech rights. In addition, Chutkan noted that one of Trump’s recent statements — an attack on his former chief of staff Mark Meadows — would “almost certainly violate the order” had it been in effect.

Trump, citing an ABC report that Meadows had accepted immunity to testify to federal prosecutors, said last week that such cooperation was for “weaklings” and “cowards” and that any unfavorable testimony about him would have been a “lie.” Chutkan said this remark would plainly have cut against her order had it been in effect, “and for good reason.”

Chutkan reiterated that her decision to issue the original gag order earlier this month was rooted in evidence that Trump’s public attacks on witnesses, prosecutors and court personnel have routinely resulted in threats and harassment jeopardizing their safety and her duty to protect the “orderly administration of justice.” In such cases, she said, the Supreme Court and other legal precedents and rules have supported gag orders as a tool to protect the public’s interest in a fair trial.

Trump’s “repeated appeals to broad First Amendment values therefore ignores that the court — pursuant to its obligation to protect the integrity of the proceedings — recognized those values, but in balancing them against the potential prejudice resulting from certain kinds of statements, found them outweighed,” Chutkan wrote.

Julie Kelly wrote:

Judge Chutkan’s order lifting her temp hold on gag order on Trump, his attorneys, and unnamed “others” demonstrates how absurd it is.

Chutkan parses what Trump can and can’t say; repeatedly argues against 1A protections; claims her 3-page order will survive appeal.

If the gag order should apply to all parties…shouldn’t it apply to “foreseeable witnesses” like AG Bill Barr, who spends all of his time attacking Trump in public?

Do his critical comments about Trump pose a “grave threat” to the integrity of the proceedings or nah?

Trump criticized Judge Chutkan’s ruling in a Truth Social post.

“I have just learned that the very Biased, Trump Hating Judge in D.C., who should have RECUSED herself due to her blatant and open loathing of your favorite President, ME, has reimposed a GAG ORDER which will put me at a disadvantage against my prosecutorial and political opponents. This order, according to many legal scholars, is unthinkable! It illegally and unconstitutionally takes away my First Amendment Right of Free Speech, in the middle of my campaign for President, where I am leading against BOTH Parties in the Polls. Few can believe this is happening, but I will appeal. How can they tell the leading candidate that he, and only he, is seriously restricted from campaigning in a free and open manner? It will not stand!” Trump wrote.

Axios noted:

Chutkan’s action was announced in the court’s online docket that denied Trump’s request for a long-term stay of the order, pending appeal.

Details of the latest ruling by Chutkan, who’s overseeing the case being prosecuted by special counsel Jack Smith’s team, were not immediately available.

Prosecutors had argued that a gag order was necessary to protect the integrity of judicial proceedings, but Trump’s lawyers said it would violate his right to free speech and restrict his 2024 campaign.

Chutkan issued a narrow gag order barring “interested parties,” including Trump, from making any public statements targeting the special counsel or his staff, witnesses or court staff.

The Obama-appointed judge granted a temporary stay in the matter on Oct. 20 following a request from the Republican presidential front-runner’s lawyers to allow for more time to explain their request.


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