Federal Judge Reinstates Gag Order On Donald Trump

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan's decision will bar Trump from disparaging prosecutors or possible witnesses in his election interference case.

The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference case reinstated a gag order on the former president on Sunday, once again barring him from disparaging prosecutors, court staff and any potential witnesses.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s order was posted publicly to the federal court database late Sunday, but her reasoning and detailed ruling were not available due to an apparent computer glitch. The decision ultimately means the order will remain in effect while a federal appeals court reviews Trump’s attempt to see it thrown out.

The former president responded with fury shortly after the order was reimposed.

“I have just learned the very Biased, Trump Hating Judge in D.C., who should have RECUSED herself due to her blatant and open loathing of your favorite President, ME, has reimposed a GAG ORDER which will put me at a disadvantaged against my prosecutorial and political opponents,” he wrote on his Truth Social platform.

Trump went on to attack his former attorney general, Bill Barr ― comments that could run afoul of Chutkan’s order ― saying he had called the man “Dumb, Weak, Slow Moving, Lethargic, Gutless, and Lazy, a RINO WHO COULDN’T DO THE JOB.”

“The Corrupt Biden Administration just took away my First Amendment Right To Free Speech,” Trump added in yet another post. “NOT CONSTITUTIONAL!”

Chutkan first imposed the limited gag order this month after special counsel Jack Smith’s team warned Trump’s near-constant attacks on anyone involved in the case could intimidate potential witnesses. The judge said at the time Trump would be allowed to criticize the Justice Department and continue to make remarks that the case was a political witch hunt.

But Trump’s lawyers quickly filed an appeal, and Chutkan issued a temporary freeze while she considered arguments in the matter.

“By restricting President Trump’s speech, the Gag Order eviscerates the rights of his audiences, including hundreds of millions of American citizens who the Court now forbids from listening to President Trump’s thoughts on important issues,” Trump’s attorneys wrote at the time.

Trump hosts a campaign event at the Orpheum Theater on October 29, 2023 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Trump hosts a campaign event at the Orpheum Theater on October 29, 2023 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson via Getty Images

The former president continued his spree of attacking those in the case, including Smith, after Chutkan temporarily lifted the order. He also posted comments about his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, a likely witness in the trial.

Trump is subject to a separate gag order in his ongoing civil fraud trial in New York over his business practices. A judge fined the former president $10,000 last week for impromptu remarks outside a courtroom in which Trump appeared to attack court staff.

It was the second time Trump has been found in violation of that order, and the judge warned the former president any other offending comments could bring an increased punishment.

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