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Appeals court temporarily stays Trump gag order in D.C. election case

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an administrative stay in response to the gag order imposed by Judge Tanya Chutkan, which prevented former President Donald Trump from publicly criticizing witnesses and prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith's election case. The stay is set to remain in effect until Tuesday when Trump's legal team will present their argument to lift the gag order as part of the ongoing appeals process. The decision was made by a three-judge panel of the appellate court.

Trump's attorneys have strongly asserted that Chutkan's order violates the First Amendment. They submitted an emergency request to suspend the gag order, highlighting the unprecedented nature of a criminal defendant, particularly the leading presidential candidate, being subjected to a gag order while actively campaigning for public office. They argued that the prosecution's request for the order reflects a clear animosity towards Trump's viewpoint and his continuous criticism of the government, including the prosecution team itself. According to Trump's legal team, this order is not only unconstitutional but also exhibits an unconstitutional bias against Trump's perspective. Therefore, they urged for an immediate stay of the gag order.

This order was initially imposed by Judge Chutkan in October but was temporarily lifted to allow Trump and Smith to debate its constitutional merits. However, Chutkan reinstated the order at the end of the month.

The main point of contention revolves around Trump's tendency to post critical commentary about his adversaries, the prosecutors involved in his cases, and relevant witnesses. In a separate civil fraud case, New York Judge Arthur Engoron imposed his own gag order on Trump after he shared an image of the court clerk with the caption "Schumer's girlfriend."

The complex legal battle continues as Trump's legal team fights to challenge the gag order, invoking fundamental constitutional principles and the right to free speech.

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