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A federal appeals court on Friday partially reinstated terms of an already-limited gag order placed on Donald Trump in his election subversion case in Washington, D.C., but not without first lashing him for giving “no inch to the need to protect the criminal justice system.”
The 68-page ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia also orders that Trump and others in the case are forbidden from making public statements about any known or “reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation” in the investigation of Trump’s underlying indictment or the trial proceedings themselves.
Trump is also barred from making any comments about the parties to the case or their family members, except for special counsel Jack Smith.
Explaining the ruling, the appeals court needled Trump for his insistence that any restriction on his speech should be deemed improper or a violation of the First Amendment. They were especially critical of his take that a gag could only be placed on a defendant when the court can prove the speech presents a “clear and present danger.”
“First, Mr. Trump’s approach gives no inch to the need to protect the criminal justice process. He miscasts Supreme Court precedent discussing ‘clear and present danger’ as preventing the district court from doing anything at all to curb speech other than duplicate existing criminal prohibitions against influencing witnesses,” the appeals panel wrote on Friday. “Tellingly, Mr. Trump was unable to identify any example of speech that could be protectively proscribed by the district court that was not already a violation of the criminal law, and so also of his release condition to comply with applicable federal, state, and District laws.”
This story is developing.