Former US President Donald Trump has been bound by a gag order in the federal criminal case charging him with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results. US District Judge Tanya Chutkan reinstated the restrictions on Sunday, prohibiting Trump from attacking prosecutors, court staff, and potential trial witnesses. The judge also denied Trump’s request to suspend the gag order indefinitely while his lawyers appealed.
Prosecutors argued that the gag order should be reimposed after Trump made a series of inflammatory statements, including repeated attacks on special counsel Jack Smith and comments about the testimony of his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Prosecutors claimed that these statements were intended to intimidate or influence potential witnesses and could impact the substance of their testimony.
In their brief, prosecutors stated that Trump had taken advantage of the temporary lifting of the gag order to send threatening messages to a foreseeable witness in the case. They argued that unless the court lifted the administrative stay, Trump would continue his prejudicial conduct.
Prosecutors also pointed out that Trump had previously been fined $10,000 for violating a similar gag order in a civil fraud case brought by New York State Attorney General Laeticia James. They argued that Trump should face consequences for assailing parties in the criminal case in Washington as well.
The battle over the gag order has been contentious, with Trump pushing back against attempts to restrict his public remarks about the case. His lawyers have argued that the gag order infringes on his First Amendment rights, particularly as he campaigns for another presidential term.