“Donald Trump Appeals Gag Order, Claims Right to Speak in Election Subversion Case”
Former President Donald Trump has initiated the process of challenging a gag order imposed by the federal judge overseeing his federal 2020 election subversion case, contending that his freedom of speech has been curtailed.
In a statement to reporters on Tuesday, just before entering a New York courtroom for his ongoing civil fraud trial, Trump expressed, “We’re being subjected to unfair treatment. And we’re experiencing similar issues in other trials. You witnessed yesterday where they restricted my right to express my views. I won’t have the same freedom to communicate as I do with you.”
Trump further stated, “Despite leading Joe Biden in the polls, my ability to speak freely is being constrained. I’m a candidate running for public office, and I’m not allowed to exercise my right to free speech.” These comments were in reference to the partial gag order issued on Monday by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan.
The notice of appeal has been formally lodged with Judge Chutkan as of Tuesday.
The current gag order restricts Trump from making public statements targeting court personnel, potential witnesses, or Special Counsel Jack Smith and his legal team. However, it does not impose limitations on critical remarks concerning Washington, D.C., where the jury will convene, or specific comments about the Justice Department as a whole—both of which were requested by the prosecution.
“This issue is not about my personal preferences regarding Mr. Trump’s language,” emphasized Judge Chutkan in court on Monday when announcing the order. “It is about language that poses a threat to the fair administration of justice.”
Notably, Trump had already been subjected to a gag order by the New York state judge overseeing his fraud trial. Last month, the state judge mandated that all parties involved in the case should refrain from making public statements about any members of the court staff after Trump attacked the judge’s clerk in a social media post.
Judge Arthur Engoron, who issued the order, stated at the time, “Personal attacks on any member of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate, and will not be tolerated.”
The ongoing proceedings in the New York civil fraud case on Tuesday are expected to include further testimony from Donna Kidder, the Trump Organization’s assistant controller.
It is important to note that Judge Chutkan’s gag order explicitly applies to all parties involved in the case, not solely Donald Trump, and their legal representatives. Furthermore, it extends to others who may be directed to make public statements about the case on behalf of the parties, including spokespersons for Trump or the Justice Department.
The written order emphasizes, “All parties involved in this matter, including the parties and their legal representatives, are prohibited from making any public statements or instructing others to make any public statements targeting (1) the Special Counsel prosecuting this case or his team; (2) defense counsel or their staff; (3) any of this court’s staff or other supporting personnel; or (4) any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of their testimony.”