Since being indicted in two states and two federal jurisdictions, former President Donald Trump has openly stated his dissatisfaction with the legal system. He has addressed the prosecutions on Twitter, TV, and in his rallies. He can still express himself in that way, but there are new constraints on his freedom of expression.
Federal Election Case
Former US President Donald Trump was subject to a limited gag order issued by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan on October 16. In federal court in Washington, DC, the judge is in charge of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case. After losing the 2020 presidential race, the ex-president is accused on four offenses.
Smith filed a request for a gag order against Trump in September. He claimed the ex-president had made some ominous comments. The court agreed with the prosecution’s argument.
In her ruling, Chutkan made it clear that the former POTUS had the right to speak out and declare his innocence. She also said that he had every right to say “he’s being unfairly prosecuted.”
The judge, however, has warned the ex-president against attacking potential witnesses or the prosecution. She used Trump’s description of Smith as “thug” and “deranged” as examples of language that would be in violation of the order. Chutkan stated that she would not allow any other criminal defendant to criticize the prosecution in such a way “because the defendant is running a political campaign.”
If the former president violates the gag order, Chutkan has the option of fining him or revoking his bond.
On October 17, Trump’s legal team filed an appeal.
The Second Order
The gag order in the DC case isn’t the only one issued against the president. Judge Arthur Engoron, the judge overseeing the New York civil fraud trial against the former POTUS and his business, also issued a limited gag order.
The judge in that case specifically forbade Trump to criticize any of the court’s employees in public. The decision was made after the former president tweeted a photo of the judge’s chief law clerk, Allison Greenfield. Trump deemed her selfie with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York “disgraceful.”
Before the judge could issue the gag order, Trump removed the offending tweet.
The former president has pleaded not guilty to the combined 90+ felonies prosecutors have charged him with in New York, Georgia, and federal court. He maintains the charges against him are a continuation of a witch hunt.