Nov 3, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Appeals court puts hold on Trump gag order in federal election case

Former President Trump attends a campaign rally Thursday in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the limited gag order against former President Donald Trump in his federal election interference case be put on hold.

The big picture: The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit comes shortly after Trump's lawyers asked the court to lift the narrow gag order, arguing that it had "muzzl[ed] President Trump's core political speech."

  • The court, which granted a temporary stay, has scheduled oral arguments for Nov. 20, according to a Friday filing.

Background: U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the election subversion case, first issued the narrow gag order in October, saying Trump's public statements about the case "pose sufficiently grave threats to the integrity of these proceedings that cannot be addressed by alternative means."

  • Days later, however, Chutkan agreed to temporarily freeze the order to give Trump's lawyers more time to explain a request to have the order lifted.
  • Chutkan resumed the gag order last week after special counsel Jack Smith called for it to be reinstated, citing Trump's online attacks on former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Separately, the judge overseeing Trump's New York civil fraud trial on Friday issued a limited gag order for the attorneys in that case.

  • The judge, Arthur Engoron, previously issued a gag order on Trump after the former president took aim at the judge's law clerk on social media.
  • Trump has so far been fined twice for violating that gag order.

Zoom out: Despite the hold on the narrow gag order in the federal case, the GOP presidential frontrunner still faces a slew of legal challenges at the state and federal level as he campaigns for another four years in the White House.

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

Go deeper