Oct 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Judge temporarily lifts Trump gag order in federal election case

Former President Trump appears during his civil fraud trial Wednesday in New York. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on Friday agreed to temporarily freeze her narrow gag order on former President Trump in the 2020 federal election case.

Why it matters: Chutkan granted the temporary stay shortly after Trump's team requested the narrow gag order, issued earlier this week, be lifted while the 2024 GOP presidential candidate's legal challenges play out.

  • Chutkan gave Trump's lawyers more time to explain their request and froze the order until at least Oct. 28.
  • Trump's team called the order "breathtakingly overbroad" in a court filing, claiming it violated "virtually every fundamental principle of our First Amendment jurisprudence."
  • It's unclear how long appealing the gag order could take.

Catch up quick: Chutkan in the gag order barred Trump from making public statements targeting Special Counsel Jack Smith or his staff, witnesses or court staff.

  • Per the order, his statements on the case "pose sufficiently grave threats to the integrity of these proceedings that cannot be addressed by alternative means."
  • Smith had requested a "narrowly tailored" gag order last month, saying in a filing that Trump has tried "to undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool" through "disparaging and inflammatory attacks" on those involved in the case.

Of note: Earlier Friday, the judge overseeing former President Trump's New York civil fraud trial fined the former president $5,000 for violating his gag order.

  • Judge Arthur Engoron did not hold Trump in contempt as he had threatened, but said that "future violations, whether intentional or unintentional," could result in possible jail time or steeper financial penalties.

Go deeper: Trump asks for stay of narrow gag order in Jan. 6 case

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