US

Federal Judge Reimposes Gag Order on Donald Trump Amidst Election Interference Case

Donald Trump declares the ruling as ‘not constitutional’ and plans to challenge the restrictions in higher courts.

A federal judge in Washington has reinstated a gag order on former President Donald Trump, preventing him from making public comments targeting prosecutors, court staff, and potential witnesses involved in the case accusing him of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The decision came on Sunday after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan temporarily lifted the gag order, originally imposed on October 16th, to consider Trump’s appeal. The former president argued that the gag order was “vaguely worded, unmanageable, and unnecessary.”

However, Judge Chutkan reversed her decision after prosecutors cited Trump’s recent social media comments about his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as an attempt to intimidate a likely witness in the case.

“The Corrupt Biden Administration just took away my First Amendment Right To Free Speech,” Trump wrote on Truth Social in response to the reinstated gag order. “NOT CONSTITUTIONAL!”

Tanya S. Chutkan, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia. February 25, 2014. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

The judge’s order comes as a reminder of the practical consequences of Trump’s political strategy, which includes using incendiary and bitter rants to rally his supporters as he seeks to reclaim the White House in 2024. This is the second gag order imposed on Trump, the first being in his civil fraud trial in New York City.

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, has said that they will seek an emergency stay of the order from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, arguing that Trump is entitled to criticize prosecutors and “speak truth to oppression.”

Despite the controversy surrounding the case, Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges of plotting to interfere unlawfully in the counting of votes and block the congressional certification of his 2020 loss to Joe Biden. In addition to the Washington case, Trump is facing three other criminal cases and has made disparaging comments about prosecutors in each of them.

The former president has also been fined a total of $15,000 for violating a gag order imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron in his civil fraud trial in New York. Engoron has warned of harsher fines, contempt of court, and possible imprisonment if the violations continue.

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