Attorneys for former President Trump filed an appeal to a gag order placed on the former president in his federal election interference case on Thursday, which prevents him from disparaging witnesses.
Judge Tanya Chutkan reinstated the gag order on Monday. Thursday’s filing follows through on a promise to request a stay on that decision.
“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,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.
The filing describes the “extraordinary” gag order as “muzzling” Trump’s speech rights.
“The Gag Order violates the First Amendment rights of President Trump and over 100 million Americans who listen to him,” the filing continues.
Chutkan has previously argued that the order does get in the way of Trump’s free speech rights, but that those rights “must yield, when necessary, to the orderly administration of justice.”
“This is not about whether I like the language Mr. Trump uses,” Chutkan said in the order’s original filing. “This is about language that dangers the administration of justice.”
Specifically, the order bars Trump from making certain public statements about witnesses and evidence in the case. The judge argued that Trump’s status as a political candidate did not allow him to run a “smear campaign” on witnesses or prosecutors.
“I cannot imagine any other criminal case where a defendant is allowed to call a prosecutor deranged or a thug,” she said. “I will not permit it here simply because the defendant is running a political campaign.”
Trump has frequently disparaged prosecutors and witnesses, namely special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the case against Trump, and former Vice President Mike Pence.
The former president was levied a gag order in a separate New York civil trial last month. He has violated that order twice and has been fined $15,000 for disparaging court staff.
Trump’s attorneys requested that the request for a stay be ruled on by Nov. 10. The trial in the case is scheduled for March 4, just as the presidential primary season ramps up.
“The Corrupt Biden Administration just took away my First Amendment Right To Free Speech,” Trump said on Truth Social shortly after the order was reinstated. “NOT CONSTITUTIONAL! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”
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