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Unlikely bedfellows: ACLU backs Trump in opposing judge's gag order in criminal case

"Trump retains a First Amendment right to speak, and the rest of us retain a right to hear what he has to say," the brief states.

Published: October 28, 2023 11:44pm

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the icons of the left, is joining Donald Trump in opposing a judge's gag order against the former president.

The ACLU filed an amicus brief last week that argued the limited gag order imposed by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan against Trump in a federal criminal case in Washington D.C. is unlawful.

“The obvious and unprecedented public interest in this prosecution, as well as the widespread political speech that it has generated and will continue to generate, only underscores the need to apply the most stringent First Amendment standard to a restraint on Defendant’s speech rights,” the ACLU argued.

You can read the full brief here.

Chutkan imposed a limited gag order on Trump earlier this month that forbids him from targeting any criticism at Special Counsel Jack Smith, court staff, or witnesses on his case that involves allegations related to the Jan. 6 riots.

But the ACLU argued the term "targeting" was unconstitutionally vague.

“The First Amendment rights of the accused require any court order restraining their speech to be both clearly defined and narrowly framed,” the group argued. "The order’s prohibition on speech that “targets” certain named and unnamed individuals is neither.

"Reading the order, Defendant cannot possibly know what he is permitted to say, and what he is not," it added/

Trump pleaded not guilty in August to all federal charges stemming from special counsel Jack Smith's probe related to the 2020 election and the subsequent Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.


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