A federal appeals court is set to deliberate over the fate of the gag order imposed on former President Donald Trump.
The order lifted and reinstated amid a flurry of legal maneuvering, became the focal point in the federal case accusing Trump of orchestrating a plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Re-imposing gag order
Prosecutors are poised to argue before a three-judge panel at the Washington-based appeals court. They aim to re-impose a gag order preventing Trump from making inflammatory remarks about attorneys and potential witnesses, to safeguard the integrity of the court system, and prevent intimidation of potential witnesses.
Posing a threat
The defense contends that the gag order infringes on Trump’s constitutional right to free speech arguing that there is no evidence to support the claim that his words have caused harm or posed a threat.
This legal skirmish is just one of many contentious issues preceding the landmark trial scheduled for March 2024.
Trump’s defense is also attempting to have the case dismissed, citing his immunity as a former president and protection under the First Amendment against prosecution.
A gag order in circles
The order has undergone rapid and tumultuous journey through the legal system since US District Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed it at the request of prosecutors. They pointed to Trump’s repeated derogatory remarks about Smith, whom he labeled as “deranged.”
The judge initially lifted the order shortly after implementing it, providing Trump’s legal team with an opportunity to demonstrate why restrictions on his words were unwarranted. However, Trump’s social media posts during this period, perceived by prosecutors as an attempt to influence his former chief of staff’s testimony negatively, prompted Chutkan to reinstate the order. Subsequently, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit temporarily lifted the order while considering Trump’s appeal.
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