This witch hunt needs to end.
In a recent development concerning the 2020 election interference case involving Donald Trump in Washington, a federal appeals court has taken a temporary step to lift the gag order that was imposed on the former president. This decision represents the latest twist in the ongoing legal battle surrounding the limitations on Trump’s ability to express his views.
According to Newsmax, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has decided to place a temporary hold on the relatively limited gag order. This temporary suspension is intended to allow the judges time to deliberate over Trump’s request for a more extended pause on these restrictions while his appeals process unfolds. It’s important to note that the appeals court emphasized that this temporary pause should not be misconstrued as a ruling on the substance of Trump’s request.
The court has scheduled oral arguments for November 20, with a panel of three judges, all of whom were appointed by Democratic presidents.
As of Friday, an attorney representing Trump has refrained from making any comments regarding this matter.
The original gag order, instituted by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, prevents Trump from making public statements targeting prosecutors, court personnel, and potential witnesses involved in the case, which accuses him of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election he lost to President Joe Biden. However, it still permits the former president to maintain his innocence and assert that the case against him is politically motivated.
Judge Chutkan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, reinstated the gag order on Sunday after prosecutors pointed to Trump’s recent social media comments concerning his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
This represents the most significant restriction imposed by a court on the speech of the GOP presidential primary frontrunner and criminal defendant in four separate cases. While gag orders are not uncommon in high-profile cases, the issue of limiting the speech of a presidential candidate is relatively uncharted territory for the courts.
The special counsel, Jack Smith’s team, argues that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about individuals involved in the case poses a risk to public confidence in the judicial system and may influence potential witnesses who could be called to testify.
Trump’s legal team has indicated their willingness to go to the Supreme Court if necessary to challenge what they perceive as unconstitutional constraints on his political speech. They argue that prosecutors have failed to provide any evidence that potential witnesses or others were intimidated by the former president’s social media posts.
The case will be heard by Appeals court Judges Brad Garcia, Patricia Millett, and Cornelia Pillard. Garcia, a former Justice Department official who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, was appointed to the bench by President Biden. Millett, an Obama appointee, previously argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court before becoming a judge. Pillard, also appointed by Obama, served as a Justice Department lawyer and a professor at Georgetown University’s law school before her appointment.
Ultimately, the appeals court may uphold the gag order, or they could determine that the restrictions imposed by Chutkan were excessive. Regardless of the outcome, it is likely that this issue will be appealed to the Supreme Court, although there is no guarantee that the justices will decide to take up the matter.