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Trump gag order upheld by appeals court, barring him from targeting witnesses in federal election case

Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

A federal appeals court Friday mostly upheld a partial gag order barring former President Donald Trump from targeting witnesses in his election interference case.

The three-judge panel of the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals backed Judge Tanya Chutkan’s order barring Trump from making statements about witnesses in the explosive case that is set to go on trial March 4.

“Trump’s public statements pose a significant and imminent threat to the fair and orderly adjudication of the ongoing criminal proceeding,” the unanimous ruling said.

The appeals judges did narrow the ruling by permitting Trump to continue his trademark nasty attacks on special counsel Jack Smith, whom he regularly derides as a “lunatic” and worse on social media.

Trump says the gag order violates his First Amendment rights, a claim most legal analysts disagree with.

Trump wasted little time trashing the ruling and said he would appeal the matter to the Supreme Court if necessary.

 

“What is becoming of our First Amendment, what is becoming of our Country?” Trump asked in a post on his social media site.

The judges said they were well aware of the political sensitivity of their ruling, noting that Trump is a presidential candidate and “there is strong public interest in what he has to say.”

But they said no criminal defendant can be allowed to tip the scales of justice by trying to interfere with witnesses.

“He must stand trial in a courtroom under the same procedures governing any other criminal defendant,” the judges ruled. “That is what the rule of law means.”

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