Attorneys for former President Donald Trump on Nov. 2 filed an appeal with a federal court in an effort to lift a gag order restricting his speech in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) federal election case, accusing him of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Lawyers for President Trump, in an emergency request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, urged the court to temporarily block a gag order ruling from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan while their client pursues an appeal.
The gag order, as requested by government prosecutor special counsel Jack Smith, bans President Trump from making any public statements or directing others to make any public statements that “target” the prosecution and defense legal teams, court staff, and supporting personnel, and any “reasonably foreseeable” potential witnesses or their testimony in the case.
President Trump—who has pleaded not guilty to the charges in the DOJ’s case against him regarding alleged election interference—had sought the same kind of relief from the gag order from Judge Chutkan herself but she declined to grant it earlier this week.
Instead, she reinstated the gag order after previously approving his request for an administrative stay or pause after the government filed its opposition to the temporary lifting of the order.
In their court filing Thursday, lawyers for President Trump argued the gag order violates his First Amendment rights and those of “over 100 million Americans who listen to him,” adding that his “uniquely powerful voice has been a fixture of American political discourse for eight years, and central to the American fabric for decades.”
‘Gag Order Bristles With Hostility’
“The prosecution’s request for a Gag Order bristles with hostility to President Trump’s viewpoint and his relentless criticism of the government—including of the prosecution itself,” his attorneys wrote in the filing.
“The Gag Order embodies this unconstitutional hostility to President Trump’s viewpoint. It should be immediately stayed,” they said.
“No court in American history has imposed a gag order on a criminal defendant who is actively campaigning for public office—let alone the leading candidate for President of the United States,” his attorneys continued. “Given the Gag Order’s extraordinary nature, one would expect an extraordinary justification for it. Yet none exists.”
Lawyers for President Trump noted that their client had made public statements about the election case “for months” but that the DOJ has so far “submitted no evidence of any actual or imminent threat to the administration of justice.”
“The prosecution’s claim that his core political speech suddenly poses a threat to the administration of justice is baseless. The prosecutors and potential witnesses addressed by President Trump’s speech are high-level government officials and public figures, many of whom routinely attack President Trump in their own public statements, media interviews, and books,” they wrote.
Judge Reinstates Gag Order
Lawyers for President Trump requested a ruling on their relief motion by Nov. 10 and vowed to seek relief from the U.S. Supreme Court if the appeals court denies his request.
The gag order was initially imposed on President Trump by Judge Chutkan in a Washington court on Oct. 16 after prosecutors raised concerns over potential public comments he might make regarding the case—the former President has been outspoken in the past about special counsel Mr. Smith, who is leading the case against him, and others.
Lawyers for President Trump immediately sought to have the gag order placed on hold, pending an appeal.
In reinstating the order last week, Judge Chutkan sided with prosecutors, noting that President Trump and his lawyers had “not made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits.”
“As the court has explained, the First Amendment rights of participants in criminal proceedings must yield, when necessary, to the orderly administration of justice – a principle reflected in Supreme Court precedent, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Local Criminal Rules,” she wrote in her order. “And contrary to Defendant’s argument, the right to a fair trial is not his alone, but belongs also to the government and the public.”
President Trump was also handed a gag order in a separate civil case in New York last month. That case is being pursued by Attorney General Leticia James, and the former president has violated that order twice, resulting in fines of 15,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times