Jan 23, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump's bid to lift gag order in federal election case rejected by court

Former President Trump, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, addresses a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Jan. 21. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal appeals court rejected former President Trump's request to rehear his appeal regarding his gag order in his 2020 election interference case, per a Tuesday court filing.

Why it matters: The gag order severely limits the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner's criticism of the witnesses in the case.

  • The D.C. Court of Appeals' 11 judges all declined to take up the case, following a ruling from a three-judge panel in December which also declined to remove the gag order.
  • None of the judges issued a statement and none dissented in the decision.

Catch up quick: In December, a federal appeals court upheld most of the partial gag order for Trump and his legal team.

  • However, the decision was narrowed slightly to allow Trump to comment on special counsel Jack Smith, though not other lawyers working on the case.
  • Trump and his counsel had been prohibited from "making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation in the investigation or in this criminal proceeding," Axios' Erin Doherty reports.
  • The gag order also barred Trump and his counsel from making statements about "members of the court's staff and counsel's staffs, or the family members of any counsel or staff member."

Zoom out: U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the election subversion case, first issued the narrow gag order in October.

  • Chutkan said Trump's public statements about the case "pose sufficiently grave threats to the integrity of these proceedings that cannot be addressed by alternative means."

What's next: Trump's last effort to remove the gag order rests with the U.S. Supreme Court, should he appeal.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment Tuesday.

Go deeper: READ: Chutkan formally issues gag order in Trump's Jan. 6 case

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