A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday upheld a gag order against former President Donald Trump in a 2020 election interference case, but reduced restrictions on speech.
The three-judge panel's ruling amended a gag order that would allow Trump to make disparaging comments about Special Counsel Jack Smith, the Republican front-runner for the 2024 presidential nomination.
However, the court upheld the prohibition on public statements regarding potential participation in the case by known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses.
“By broadly prohibiting any statements about the special prosecutor, court and attorney staff, reasonably foreseeable witnesses or their testimony, or directed at the special prosecutor, this order… It's too broad,” he said. “It captures constitutionally protected speech that is devoid of character or content that threatens the proper functioning of the courts or the ability to administer justice.”
President Trump has said the gag order is an unconstitutional muzzling of his political speech, and may appeal the ruling to the Chancery Court or the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a gag order in October, barring Trump from making public statements targeting Smith, other prosecutors, court officials or potential witnesses. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had lifted the gag order while it considered Trump's challenge.
Prosecutors argue the restrictions are necessary to protect the integrity of the case and protect potential witnesses and others involved from harassment and intimidation inspired by President Trump's inflammatory social media posts. ing.
The order has been a whirlwind in the courtroom since prosecutors proposed it because President Trump has repeatedly shown contempt for the special counsel, the judge overseeing the case, and possibly witnesses.