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Appeals Court Freezes Gag Order Against Former President Trump In Federal Election Subversion Case

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Donald Trump’s limited gag order was temporarily lifted by a federal appeals court, regaining his freedom to criticize potential witnesses in the former president’s criminal case involving election subversion in Washington, DC.

A three-judge panel at the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals announced in a brief ruling that they were rescinding the gag order imposed by District Judge Tanya Chutkan in order to give themselves more time to evaluate Trump’s request to pause the order while his appeal is pending.

The appellate judges, Brad Garcia, a Joe Biden appointee, Patricia Millett, and Cornelia Pillard, all appointed by Barack Obama, announced that they would expedite Trump’s appeal of the gag order and hear arguments on November 20.

Since his arrest, Trump has been making an effort to postpone additional limitations on his capacity to speak in public. Prosecutors from the Justice Department have so far been successful in their argument that Trump’s speech ought to be restricted due to the frequency with which he shares on social media about potential witnesses in his case, which may result in potential harassment or damage their credibility among his jury pool.

Even though Trump had challenged the gag order at the appeals court on constitutional grounds, Chutkan had ruled against the former president’s attorneys, holding that the order was lawful for him as a criminal defendant.

Prosecutors from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office told the judge that Trump quickly resumed publishing allegedly intimidating posts about prosecutors and potential witnesses in the case on social media after Chutkan temporarily froze the gag order. They urged the judge to reinstate the restrictions.

Chutkan stated that one such post that targeted Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows would have “almost certainly” violated the gag order if it hadn’t been paused when he reinstated the order earlier this week.

The appeals court will now decide whether to give the former president relief in this case.

“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,” Trump’s attorneys told the appeals court in a filing Thursday. “The Gag Order embodies this unconstitutional hostility to President Trump’s viewpoint. It should be immediately stayed.”

Trump is not permitted to publicly disparage court employees, possible witnesses, the special counsel, or his staff as a result of the order. The government requested that certain remarks about the Justice Department as a whole and derogatory remarks about Washington, DC, the site of the jury trial, be allowed, but the order did not restrict either of these.

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