Tough Grilling for Trump Lawyer Over Gag OrderNovember 20, 2023
Defense lawyer is being grilled by appeals court judges over a proposed gag order in Trump’s federal election interference case. Trump’s team wants to overturn District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan’s gag order against Trump from targeting witnesses. They argue that the gag order violates Trump’s First Amendment rights and is designed to prevent him from winning the White House in 2024. Trump’s lawyer, John Sauer, claims that the order is unprecedented and sets a bad precedent for future restrictions on political speech. The prosecution counters that the restrictions are necessary to prevent Trump from intimidating potential witnesses in the upcoming trial, scheduled to start March 4. Critics question whether the gag order is unconstitutional or was entered without sufficient cause. Despite a lingering two-hour hearing, the Circuit Court judges remain skeptical of the defense’s arguments. They also argue that defendants in criminal trials are often prohibited from discussing their cases publicly to protect the jury pool and preempt witness tampering. The gag order is one of several issues being debated before the landmark trial, which will likely be one of multiple legal challenges facing Trump as he runs for president. The former president frequently criticizes the prosecutor, Jack Smith, as well as others involved in the cases against him. The case involves four counts and 91 felony charges. Trump has pleaded not guilty to everything and falsely claims that Biden is trying to prosecute him to prevent him from winning the presidency.