Federal Appeals Court to Hear Arguments on Trump’s Gag Order Request
Former President Donald Trump’s bid to be released from a gag order in his federal election interference case is set to go before a federal appeals court. This development comes amid concerns about the protection of the upcoming trial due to Trump’s remarks about prosecutors and witnesses.
Trump’s comments have been linked to threats and intimidation from his supporters towards perceived adversaries. Prosecutors argue that his inflammatory language targets individuals and stokes violence, even without explicitly inciting it. Various instances of threats and intimidation have been cited, including a woman in Texas who was charged with making threats against a judge overseeing the trial. Additionally, hundreds of threatening calls and letters were sent to another judge in a civil fraud case involving Trump.
To address these concerns, Judge Tanya Chutkan issued a limited gag order that prohibits Trump from attacking prosecutors, likely witnesses, and court staff. However, Trump’s lawyers argue that this order restricts his “core political speech” as a presidential candidate and frontrunner for the GOP nomination. They claim that the order is vague, overly broad, and lacks evidence of any immediate or actual threats to the trial.
The Trump campaign has criticized the gag order, describing it as an infringement on political speech and urging the higher court to reverse it. Three judges on the D.C. Circuit court, two appointed by President Obama and one appointed by President Biden, are scheduled to hear the appeal.
While the gag order is the first major issue to be considered by the appeals court, Trump also aims to have the charges against him dismissed based on claims of presidential immunity and double jeopardy. If Judge Chutkan rules against him, Trump has indicated that he will appeal to the D.C. Circuit and potentially the Supreme Court. These appeals could potentially delay his trial, which is currently scheduled for March 2024.
As the appeals court prepares to hear arguments on Trump’s gag order request, the outcome of this case will have significant implications for the boundaries of political speech and the protection of witnesses and court officials in high-profile trials.