U.S. Appeals Court Temporarily Pauses Gag Order Against Trump

Sophia Moonstone

Updated Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 5:47 AM CDT

U.S. Appeals Court Temporarily Pauses Gag Order Against Trump

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has temporarily paused a gag order against former President Donald Trump. The gag order, which prohibited Trump from making statements about potential witnesses or disparaging comments about the prosecutors involved in his federal election interference case, will be stayed until after the appeals court hears oral arguments on Trump's request to permanently remove the gag order. The oral arguments are scheduled for November 20.

Trump's attorneys argued that the gag order violated Trump's First Amendment rights and called for it to be immediately stayed. They dismissed concerns that a gag order was needed for the proper administration of justice as "baseless." The order barred Trump and all parties from making or reposting any statements targeting special counsel Jack Smith or his staff.

Trump's attorneys claimed that the order embodied "unconstitutional hostility" towards Trump's point of view. On the other hand, prosecutors in Smith's office argued that the gag order was necessary to protect the integrity of the trial and the jury pool. A spokesperson from Smith's office declined to comment on the matter.

The gag order was initially issued by Judge Chutkan, who cited instances where Trump publicly criticized witnesses and commented on their potential testimony at trial. However, Judge Chutkan temporarily paused the gag order to allow Trump's defense team to appeal the ruling. A courtroom clerk for Judge Chutkan did not provide immediate comment on the matter.

Judge Chutkan clarified that her ruling did not restrict statements critical of the government or the Justice Department, nor did it restrict Trump's claims of political motivation or criticisms of his political rivals. This clarification aimed to address concerns about potential limitations on free speech.

In another case, Judge Authur Engoron imposed a partial gag order on Trump in his $250 million civil fraud trial after Trump made disparaging remarks about Engoron's principal law clerk. Trump was fined twice for violating the gag order issued by Judge Engoron. The gag order was later expanded to include Trump's attorneys after they falsely accused the clerk of bias against them.

The partial gag order imposed by Judge Engoron prohibits lawyers Christopher Kise, Clifford Robert, and Alina Habba from making public statements about any confidential communications between the judge and his staff. Failure to abide by the gag order will result in serious sanctions. The lawyers argued that it is improper for a judge to consult with a law clerk during ongoing proceedings, suggesting an appearance of impropriety. However, Judge Engoron stated that these arguments have no basis and asserted his right to consult with his staff throughout the remainder of the trial.

The trial continued with arguments between the judge and Trump's lawyers regarding the role of the law clerk. Judge Engoron spoke to another judge who had a similar relationship with a law clerk, indicating that the clerk's role is not unprecedented. Kise, Robert, and Habba did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Attorney General Letitia James's office, which brought the case against Trump and his adult sons, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Engoron accused Kise of misogyny in his reference to the judge's law clerk, who is a woman. Kise made a comment suggesting that the judge's note from the law clerk might be about dinner. As a result, Engoron issued a partial gag order on Trump after he made disparaging remarks about the law clerk on social media and to reporters. Engoron stated that personal attacks on court staff are unacceptable and inappropriate.

In a separate development, a federal appeals court temporarily lifted a gag order on Donald Trump in his 2020 election interference case in Washington. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision puts a hold on the limited gag order to give the judges time to consider Trump's request for a longer pause on the restrictions. However, the temporary pause should not be construed as a ruling on the merits of Trump's bid.

The case accuses Trump of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election he lost to President Joe Biden. Oral arguments for the case are set for November 20 before a panel of three judges, all appointees of Democratic presidents. This hearing will play a crucial role in determining the fate of the gag order and the extent of Trump's freedom of speech in relation to the ongoing legal proceedings.

Republican Bias:

Here we have yet another example of liberal judicial overreach, t****ling over the First Amendment rights of former President Donald Trump. The gag order, which is nothing more than an attempt to silence Trump and his team, is a clear example of the left's unending hostility towards conservatives. The claim that this order is necessary to protect the integrity of the trial is nothing more than a smokescreen for the real intention - to shut down any criticism of the special counsel and his staff. The liberal prosecutors, in their desperate attempt to discredit Trump, are willing to throw the Constitution out of the window. The fact that the gag order was temporarily paused just shows that even the judges realize the baseless nature of this order. It's a blatant attempt to hinder Trump's right to free speech and to criticize his political rivals. This is nothing but an unconstitutional witch hunt.

Liberal Bias:

Once again, Donald Trump and his team are trying to twist the Constitution to fit their own agenda. The gag order, far from being a violation of Trump's First Amendment rights, is a necessary measure to protect the integrity of the trial and the jury pool from Trump's attempts to manipulate public opinion. His lawyers' claim of "unconstitutional hostility" is nothing more than a diversion tactic to draw attention away from their client's misdeeds. Their dismissal of the need for a gag order for the proper administration of justice is a clear indication of their disregard for the rule of law. Their false accusations of bias against the court clerk and their disrespect towards the judge's staff are merely attempts to bully and intimidate. The temporary pause of the gag order is not a validation of their arguments, but a necessary step in the legal process. Trump's repeated violations of Judge Engoron's gag order show his contempt for the judicial process and his belief that he is above the law. This case is not about suppressing free speech, but about ensuring a fair trial.

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