Judge reinstates Trump gag order

 October 31, 2023

The judge overseeing Donald Trump's "election subversion" case in Washington D.C. has reinstated a gag order limiting what Trump can say on the campaign trail. 

Judge Tanya Chutkan had previously paused the gag order after Trump appealed it, but she brought it back after prosecutor Jack Smith complained that Trump took advantage of the pause to vilify a witness.

Trump judge reinstates gag order

Chutkan rejected a request from Smith to make Trump's compliance with the gag order a condition of his release, saying such restrictions are not needed "at this time."

Trump has regularly disparaged Smith as "deranged" and Chutkan as a biased "Trump-hating" judge.

Trump's lawyers have broadly rejected Smith's warnings that the trial is in danger of being prejudiced by Trump, who is being tried in a district where over 90 percent of the likely jurors voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

Trump's lawyers have blasted the gag order as an attempt to silence Biden's political rival and likely opponent in the 2024 presidential election. The gag order, they say, tramples on Trump's First Amendment rights and prevents him from speaking freely on a critical campaign issue.

But Chutkan dismissed these concerns in her order, ruling matter-of-factly that the "First Amendment rights of participants in criminal proceedings must yield, when necessary, to the orderly administration of justice."

Gagging the opposition

The order limits Trump from "targeting" Smith, the court staff, or witnesses.

Chutkan said a post referencing Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows "would almost certainly violate the Order under any reasonable definition of ‘targeting.’”

Smith, the court, and the mainstream media have described the order as "limited," but Trump's lawyers say it is vague and overly broad. Trump said the order "will put me at a disadvantage against my prosecutorial and political opponents" in a post blasting Chutkan.

"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. Few can believe this is happening, but I will appeal."

It remains to be seen how Chutkan will enforce the unprecedented order.

Chutkan won't recuse self

Chutkan has refused requests from Trump's lawyers to recuse herself, despite her past comments suggesting she believes Trump belongs in jail.

Trump has already incurred thousands in fines for violating a separate gag order in his civil fraud case in New York.

Trump is also facing three other criminal indictments. He has dismissed all of the prosecutions as part of a coordinated witch hunt.

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Thomas Jefferson
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