Trump might have just caught the minor break he needed.
Trump-hating U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan was forced to take a temporary step to relax the constraints of her gag order in the case involving Donald Trump’s alleged interference in the 2020 election. This decision, made in Washington on Friday, aimed to allow lawyers more time to submit additional briefs related to the matter.
According to Newsmax, Chutkan’s ruling followed a request from Trump’s legal team to temporarily suspend the gag order while he pursues an appeal against it. The original gag order, issued on Monday, prohibited Trump from making public statements targeting prosecutors, court personnel, and potential witnesses.
Judge Chutkan announced that the order would be lifted temporarily while she considers Trump’s request for a more extended stay. She also directed special counsel Jack Smith’s team to file any opposition to Trump’s request to lift the gag order by the following Wednesday.
In court documents submitted on Friday, Trump’s legal representatives, who had swiftly appealed the initial ruling to the D.C. Circuit Court, argued that neither prosecutors nor the judge had provided sufficient justification for the gag order. They added that the former president had not unlawfully threatened or harassed anyone.
The defense contended that the gag order, by restricting President Trump’s speech, significantly impeded the rights of his audience, including millions of American citizens who were now prevented from hearing his views on important matters.
In her ruling from Monday, Judge Chutkan clarified that Trump was allowed to criticize the Justice Department in a general sense and express his claims of innocence, as well as assert that the case had political motivations. However, she emphasized that his statements, which smeared prosecutors and potential witnesses, had crossed a line and had the potential to incite his supporters to threaten or harass these individuals.
This represents the most significant limitation imposed by a court on Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, which has played a central role in his campaign to return to the White House, characterized by grievances. In rallies and on social media, Trump has endeavored to vilify special counsel Jack Smith and others, portraying himself as a victim of a politically motivated justice system that is working against his bid for another term.
Trump has vigorously criticized the gag order, labeling it as unconstitutional and using it to emphasize his claims of political persecution. The former president has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the case that accuses him of illegal activities aimed at overturning his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
This incident marks the second gag order imposed on Trump within the past month. The judge presiding over Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York recently issued a more limited gag order, which prohibited personal attacks against court personnel, following a social media post from Trump that criticized the judge’s principal clerk.
On Friday, Trump was fined $5,000 after his disparaging post remained on his campaign website for several weeks, despite the judge’s order to remove it. Judge Arthur Engoron refrained from holding Trump in contempt for now but reserved the right to do so, and potentially even incarcerate the former president, if he were to violate the limited gag order again.