Attorneys for former President Donald Trump on Monday protested a request by prosecutors for a gag order to prevent him from talking about aspects of the case against him, particularly witnesses in the cases, lawyers, and others involved in the case.
The Trump lawyers argued that the gag order would unconstitutionally silence him during the leadup to the 2024 election, in which he is the leading GOP candidate.
They also said that the president's "attacks" on Judge Tanya Chutkan, special counsel Jack Smith and others involved in the case are not "threats" or incitement of attacks, which means they are protected by the First Amendment.
“The prosecution may not like President Trump’s entirely valid criticisms,” attorneys Gregory Singer, John Lauro and Todd Blanche wrote in the late-night filing, ”but neither it nor this court are the filter for what the public may hear.”
In response to the gag order request, Trump doubled down on his attacks on prosecutors, calling the request a "desperate attempt at censorship."
He also launched an attack on outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, who could be a potential witness in both federal cases against him.
Prosecutors argued that Trump's attacks have historically led to threats and harassment from others, citing that as a need for the gag order.
The attorneys countered that no evidence suggests any of Trump's comments have led to non-cooperation by witnesses or interfered with their preparation to testify, so there's no reason for the gag order.
Republicans have argued that the indictments themselves are a way to interfere with the election, given that Biden's DOJ has every motive to get GOP frontrunner Trump out of the way.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) even put forward a timeline in support of his theory that every time President Joe Biden gets some really bad news, Trump is indicted again.
There's no question that the impact of the indictments will be election interference of some sort.
So far, GOP indignation has fueled a rise in the polls for Trump, and many Democrats are almost hoping Trump gets nominated and then one or more convictions cause enough of his voters to fall away that Biden gets elected by default.
There is still a lot of time before the general election, and it's certain that a lot will happen before that time. Whether Trump will have to campaign or preside from jail is still anyone's guess.