Former President Donald Trump promised to appeal a gag order reimposed on him Sunday night by the judge overseeing his 2020 election case.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee, reimposed a gag order that prevents Trump from making public statements “targeting” Special Counsel Jack Smith or his staff, the defense counsel or their staff, court staff and witnesses after temporarily suspending it. Trump said Monday morning that the order “will not stand” and promised to appeal.
“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,” Trump wrote on Truth Social Monday morning. “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.”
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief with the court backing Trump, arguing that the order is too broad and includes issues that will likely be relevant during the 2024 presidential campaign.
“Few can believe this is happening, but I will appeal,” he continued. “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!”
In her nine-page Sunday night decision, Chutkan said Trump was unlikely to succeed on a First Amendment challenge to the order and argued his statements “pose sufficiently grave threats to the integrity of these proceedings.”
“Defendant’s repeated appeals to broad First Amendment values therefore ignore that the court pursuant to its obligation to protect the integrity of these proceedings—recognized those values but, in balancing them against the potential prejudice resulting from certain kinds of statements, found them outweighed,” Chutkan wrote Sunday night.
She noted that Trump’s recent statement calling former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows a “weakling” and “coward” would have been prohibited under the gag order “for good reason.”
“The statement singles out a foreseeable witness for purposes of characterizing his potentially unfavorable testimony as a ‘lie’ ‘mad[e] up’ to secure immunity, and it attacks him as a ‘weakling and coward’ if he provides that unfavorable testimony—an attack that could readily be interpreted as an attempt to influence or prevent the witness’s participation in this case,” Chutkan wrote.