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Appeals court panel appears critical of Trump gag order in D.C. case

During a recent hearing, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that it may impose constraints on the scope of a gag order directed towards former President Donald Trump. This order was issued by Judge Tanya Chutkan in relation to the charges brought against him by special counsel Jack Smith. Trump pleaded not guilty to multiple counts, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Under Chutkan's order, Trump was prohibited from attacking the judge herself, court personnel, the prosecution, and witnesses involved in the case. However, the appeals court exhibited skepticism regarding the parameters of this order during the arguments presented.

Judge Patricia Millett raised concerns about the potential impact of the gag order on Trump's ability to address relevant issues during the 2024 presidential campaign. She questioned the fairness of requiring him to adhere to decorum rules while his opponents launched full-fledged attacks. Judge Nina Pillard, on the other hand, suggested that public criticisms made by Trump may not significantly affect the testimony of high-ranking government officials.

Trump's legal team argued that the order infringes upon his First Amendment rights. They contended that it demonstrates a biased viewpoint antagonistic towards Trump's consistent criticism of the government and the prosecution itself. Conversely, the prosecution claimed that Trump's public attacks could potentially intimidate witnesses or incite retaliation against the prosecutors involved.

Although the judges expressed skepticism towards the order, Millett hinted that the court might opt for narrowing its scope rather than completely eliminating it. This approach would require a precise and careful examination, ensuring the appropriate balance is struck between protecting the proceedings and preserving Trump's rights, according to Politico.

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1 Comment

Flo Mac
Flo Mac
Nov 21, 2023

The appellate judges can't see the forest for the trees. They make good points about the reach of the gag order but the entire indictment is a farce. President Trump has a constitutional right to challenge the election results, just as the democrats do every time a republican wins.

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