Former President Donald Trump is appealing a gag order handed down by a federal judge who barred him from making public statements that attack witnesses, certain prosecutors, and court staff involved in the indictment rendered against him for trying to undermine the results of the 2020 election.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled on Monday that Trump’s current run for office does not give him carte blanche to run a full-scale “smear campaign” against individuals involved in the case.
Chutkan remarked, “No other defendant would be allowed to do so, and I’m not going to allow it in this case.”
Some of Trump’s critics are arguing the judge’s ruling was fair, noting Trump shouldn’t receive special treatment just because he’s running for office.
Placing a gag order on Trump is not a violation of free speech. There is no right to bash court officials in YOUR OWN CASE, intimidate potential witnesses, etc. Any normal defendant would have been jailed already. Enough with the special treatment of this pathetic man
— Tim Wise (@timjacobwise) October 16, 2023
Others have argued this has nothing to do with Trump, who he is, or what status he has in the presidential race. Rather, this is an issue of constitutional rights.
Isn’t it just a shame and disgrace when a judge uses power to stop people from using their Constitutional Right of Free Speech!! America sees their obstruction of real justice!!Judge Imposes Gag Order on Trump in DC Trial https://t.co/DfzLlvBrNX
— Angie (@angie_anson) October 16, 2023
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton shared his thoughts on X — the platform formerly known as Twitter — noting, “Biden gang celebrates ‘Free Speech Week’ by getting Judge Chutkan to threaten to jail Trump for engaging in free speech.”
Biden gang celebrates "Free Speech Week" by getting Judge Chutkan to threaten to jail Trump for engaging in free speech. https://t.co/GNlW1aCfwl
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) October 17, 2023
Trump took to Truth Social, his own social media platform, on Monday to share the following statement:
“WILL APPEAL THE GAG ORDER RULING. WITCH HUNT!”
Later that day, Trump addressed his disagreement with Chutkan’s ruling while on the campaign trail in Adel, Iowa. He noted he will be the “only politician in history” who won’t be allowed to criticize people.
Donald Trump: “Today a judge put on a gag order. I'll be the only politician in history that runs with a gag order where I'm not allowed to criticize people…We'll appeal it…I'm the only guy that ever got indicted. I got indicted more than Alphonse Capone.” pic.twitter.com/NQFUpAaKAz
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) October 16, 2023
Trump highlighted the overwhelming support he is receiving from the American people during his Iowa pitstop. Can anyone really deny that?
Raise your hand ✋️ want the majority on the Supreme Court to act like one, and overturn the gag order Judge Chutkan placed on Trump pic.twitter.com/uk8NnNS6n6
— Chicago1Ray 🇺🇸 (@Chicago1Ray) October 17, 2023
Chutkan later clarified that the gag order imposed doesn’t carry the weight to impede Trump from criticizing President Joe Biden or making claims about the prosecution’s motivations.
Judge Chutkan ruled today that Trump can’t personally attack Jack Smith, the Judge, or their staffs. So Junior does it for him. pic.twitter.com/u73bcOlOK7
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) October 16, 2023
Trump has openly lambasted attorney Jack Smith for hiring prosecutors who are working for the Democrats more so than all Americans, among other things. This gag order effectively silences Trump from sharing further concerns about Smith. Any questions?
Here’s the kicker in gag order. It applies to what Jack Smith called “surrogates” in his proposed order. This in effect gags Trump’s campaign spokesmen, advisors, and anyone DOJ/Chutkan views as “others” tied to Trump.
NOT a limited gag order—a contempt trap for Team Trump. pic.twitter.com/JnsLzFxz9e
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) October 17, 2023