Nov 2, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump urges appeals court to lift gag order in federal election case

Former President Donald Trump speaks as he leaves the courtroom for a lunch recess during the second day of his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on October 03, 2023 in New York City.

Former President Trump in New York City last month. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Former President Trump's lawyers asked a federal appeals court Thursday night to lift his narrow gag order in his federal election subversion criminal case.

What they're saying: "No court in American history has imposed a gag order on a criminal defendant who is actively campaigning for public office — let alone the leading candidate for president of the United States," Trump's lawyers wrote in their emergency petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

  • "That centuries-long practice was broken" when U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan issued the gag order last month, "muzzling President Trump's core political speech during an historic Presidential campaign," the lawyers added.

The big picture: Chutkan reinstated the gag order in the Jan. 6 case last week after special counsel Jack Smith cited Trump's recent online attacks against former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

  • The D.C.-based Obama-appointed judge had earlier granted a temporary stay in the matter following a request from the Republican presidential primary front-runner's lawyers to allow for more time to explain their request.
  • The former president's lawyers maintain the order barring "interested parties," including Trump, from making any public statements targeting the special counsel or his staff, witnesses or court staff violates his right to free speech and restricts his 2024 campaign.
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