D.C. judge pauses Trump gag order in Jan. 6 case

Trump's legal team has appealed Chutkan's order to the D.C. District Court.

Published: October 20, 2023 7:07pm

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Friday agreed to temporarily pause a gag order she imposed on former President Donald Trump while he appeals the decision.

Chutkan on Monday issued the order, prohibiting him from publicly attacking the court staff, the prosecution, and any potential witnesses. The judge is overseeing special counsel Jack Smith's Jan. 6 case against the former president. Trump has vocally accused Smith of pursuing a political witch hunt against him to derail his 2024 White House bid.

Trump's legal team has appealed Chutkan's order to the D.C. District Court and asserted in Friday court filings that Trump had "not unlawfully threatened or harassed anyone," according to the Associated Press.

"By restricting President Trump’s speech, the Gag Order eviscerates the rights of his audiences, including hundreds of millions of American citizens who the Court now forbids from listening to President Trump’s thoughts on important issues," they added.

The judge gave Smith's office until Wednesday to file any objection to the pause.

Chutkan's decision comes the same day that Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing a civil fraud case against Trump and his businesses, imposed a $5,000 fine on the former president and threatened to hold him in contempt of court for violating an unrelated gag order.

Engoron had barred Trump from publicly attacking his court staff and ordered that he delete a post that featured an image of the court clerk that referred to her as "Schumer's girlfriend." Trump deleted the post, but the message remained archived on his campaign website for weeks.

"Make no mistake: future violations, whether intentional or unintentional, will subject the violator to far more severe sanctions, which may include steeper financial penalties, holding Donald Trump in contempt of court, and possibly imprisoning him," Engoron said on Friday.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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