Trump lawyers tell judge that gag order would attack free speech rights
“The Proposed Gag Order is nothing more than an obvious attempt by the Biden administration to unlawfully silence its most prominent political opponent, who has now taken a commanding lead in the polls,” Mr. Trump‘s attorneys said in the filing.
The former president’s lawyers want U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to deny prosecutors’ request for a gag order, saying that what Mr. Trump has posted on his social media platform, Truth Social, is protected by the First Amendment.
“The prosecution may not like President Trump‘s entirely valid criticisms, but neither it nor this Court are the filter for what the public may hear,” wrote Mr. Trump‘s lawyers Gregory Singer, John Lauro and Todd Blanche.
The gag order was first filed earlier this month by Mr. Smith in the case accusing Mr. Trump of illegally trying to overturn the 2020 election. The special counsel’s motion argued that Mr. Trump was using “inflammatory attacks” against witnesses, prosecutors and Judge Chutkan, to undermine the proceedings.
At the time, Mr. Trump posted on Truth Social to denounce the gag order.
“So, I’m campaigning for President against an incompetent person who has WEAPONIZED the DOJ & FBI to go after his Political Opponent & I am not allowed to COMMENT?” he wrote. “They Leak, Lie, & Sue, & they won’t allow me to SPEAK?”
Prosecutors have said previously that Mr. Trump‘s rhetoric that intimidates and harasses people shows a need for a gag order. Ms. Chutkan has already put some limits on what Mr. Trump can discuss regarding the case. He was also ordered not to intimidate potential witnesses.
“It is absurd to suggest the prosecution and the Court are ‘intimidated’ by critical social media posts, let alone to such an extent that it ‘constitute[s] a clear and present danger to the administration of justice,’” the lawyers wrote.
They also said that no witnesses have said that they will not testify because of anything said by Mr. Trump, or that anything he has said has influenced their testimonies.
“This is entirely unsurprising, as President Trump has never called for any improper or unlawful action,” they wrote.
They also argued that the “narrowly tailored” gag order is not so narrow, and the “sweeping restraints” place a “burden” on the former president’s rights.