Appeals court temporarily stays Trump gag order in D.C. election case

Trump's team has insisted that Chutkan's order constitutes a First Amendment violation.
Donald Trump, Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2023

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday issued an administrative stay of a gag order imposed by Judge Tanya Chutkan, barring former President Donald Trump from publicly criticizing witnesses and prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith's election case.

The stay will remain in place until Tuesday, when Trump's legal team will have to make its case for shutting down the gag order amid the remainder of the appeals process, The Hill reported. A three-judge panel of the appellate court issued the decision.

Trump's team has insisted that Chutkan's order constitutes a First Amendment violation. His attorneys filed an emergency request to suspend the gag order on Thursday evening, saying "[n]o court in American history has imposed a gag order on a criminal defendant who is actively campaigning for public office — let alone the leading candidate for president of the United States."

"The prosecution’s request for a Gag Order bristles with hostility to President Trump’s viewpoint and his relentless criticism of the government—including of the prosecution itself," they continued. "The Gag Order embodies this unconstitutional hostility to President Trump’s viewpoint. It should be immediately stayed."

Chutkan originally imposed the order in October, but lifted it herself temporarily to allow both Trump and Smith to argue the constitutional merits of it. She then reinstated the order at the end of the month.

At issue is Trump's penchant for posting critical commentary of his detractors, the prosecutors bringing cases against him, and relevant witnesses. New York Judge Arthur Engoron has imposed his own gag order on Trump in the unrelated civil fraud case in response to Trump posting an image of the court clerk with the label "Schumer's girlfriend."

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