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Judge Restores Gag Order on Trump in Federal Election Interference Case 2024-04-17 05:03:01

The U.S. district judge overseeing Donald Trump's case regarding interference in federal elections has reinstated a gag order on the former president.

Two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed restrictions on Trump, prohibiting him from making public statements against prosecutors, court officials, and potential witnesses. Trump filed an appeal and requested the removal of the gag order while the appeal is pending in the courts.

The judge temporarily suspended the enforcement of the restrictions to allow both sides to present additional arguments. In her decision, the judge stated that Trump is unlikely to prevail in the appeal on the merits, and that the restrictions are necessary to protect the orderly administration of justice.

"The rights of participants in criminal proceedings, as protected by the First Amendment, must yield when necessary to the fair administration of justice," the judge said in her ruling. "And contrary to the defendant's arguments, the right to a fair trial belongs not only to him but also to the government and the public."

Chutkan also rejected Trump's argument that the gag order is unconstitutionally vague, including the use of the term "targeting" in it.

The judge pointed to two of Trump's social media posts to illustrate which statements are allowed and which are prohibited under her order.

In the first post, made while the gag order was in effect, Trump asserts his innocence, claims that his prosecution is politically motivated, and accuses the Biden administration of corruption. These statements, according to Chutkan, do not violate her order to "target" specific individuals.

In the second post, made after the restrictions were lifted, Trump attacks his former administration official Mark Meadows after it was reported that Meadows had been granted immunity to testify before a grand jury.

This post, Chutkan argued, "almost certainly" violates the gag order because it "targets the putative witness in an effort to characterize his potential testimony as 'lies.'"

The judge's ruling reinforces her belief that the restrictions are necessary to ensure a fair trial and to prevent attempts to influence or deter witnesses in the case.

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