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Back in October, Judge Tanya Chutkan, in the Federal District Court case about alleged election interference, imposed a gag order on 2024 Republican presidential candidate and former president, Donald Trump — something which he immediately appealed
Then the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily placed an administrative stay on the order in early November. But that was only until it could take a closer look at Chutkan’s order. In the meantime, Judge Chutkan made a separate decision on a Trump filing, which asked for language about Jan. 6, 2021, to be removed from the indictment; she denied it.
Now, the court has ruled on the gag order. retaining many key parts of it, but narrowing to what speech by Trump it will apply. That’s something of a silver lining for the leading candidate in the GOP primary, as he campaigns:
In its ruling, a three-judge panel sought to strike a cautious balance between what it called “two foundational constitutional values”: the integrity of the judicial system and Mr. Trump’s right to speak his mind.
To that end, the panel kept in place the gag order’s original measures restricting Mr. Trump from attacking any members of Mr. Smith’s staff or the court staff involved in the case. It also preserved provisions that allowed Mr. Trump to portray the prosecution as a political vendetta and to directly criticize the Biden administration and the Justice Department.
And in one respect, the court expanded the restrictions, adding a measure barring Mr. Trump from commenting on the relatives of lawyers or court staff members involved in the case if the remarks were intended to interfere with how the trial participants were doing their jobs.
The three-judge panel wrote in the ruling that while “[m]any of former President Trump’s public statements attacking witnesses, trial participants, and court staff pose a danger to the integrity of these criminal proceedings….” the gag order “sweeps in more protected speech than necessary”:
Many of former President Trump’s public statements attacking witnesses, trial participants, and court staff pose a danger to the integrity of these criminal proceedings,” Judge Millett wrote. “That danger is magnified by the predictable torrent of threats of retribution and violence that the district court found follows when Mr. Trump speaks out forcefully against individuals in connection with this case and the 2020 election aftermath on which the indictment focuses.”
But the original order, she said, “sweeps in more protected speech than is necessary,” so the First Amendment required a narrower tailoring of the restriction.
Donald Trump reacted to the court’s decision on his Truth Social account:
An Appeals Court has just largely upheld the Gag Order against me in the ridiculous J6 Case, where the Unselect January 6th Committee deleted and destroyed almost all Documents and Evidence, saying that I can be barred from talking and, in effect, telling the truth,” Trump posted. “In other words, people can speak violently and viciously against me, or attack me in any form, but I am not allowed to respond, in kind. What is becoming of our First Amendment, what is becoming of our Country? We will appeal this decision!
This is a developing story. RedState will provide further updates as they become available.