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US court temporarily stays Trump gag order in 2020 election case

By AFP

November 4, 2023 10:57 AM


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A federal appeals court ordered a temporary freeze on Friday of a partial gag order imposed on former US president Donald Trump until it can hear arguments in the case.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered Trump last month not to publicly attack prosecutors, court staff or potential witnesses ahead of his March trial for allegedly conspiring to overturn the 2020 election.

Chutkan's ruling came after special counsel Jack Smith, a frequent target of Trump's vitriol, filed a motion claiming the real estate tycoon's inflammatory rhetoric threatened to undermine his trial for election subversion.

Trump has described Chutkan in public comments and social media posts as a "Trump-hating judge," Smith's office as a "team of thugs," and the US capital as a "filthy and crime-ridden" city with a population "over 95% anti-Trump."

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, appealed the gag order to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, arguing that it infringed on his right to free speech.

The appeals court ordered a temporary stay of the gag order until it can hear oral arguments in the case on November 20.

While restricting Trump from publicly attacking the special counsel, court staff and trial witnesses, Chutkan did not prohibit him from commenting on President Joe Biden, the Justice Department or the nation's capital.

Trump faces another partial gag order in his civil fraud case in New York.

In that case, the former president and his two eldest sons are accused of inflating the value of Trump Organization real estate assets to receive more favorable bank loans and insurance terms.

He has been fined a total of $15,000 for violating that gag order twice.

Trump was indicted in Washington for allegedly seeking to upend the results of the 2020 election in a concerted effort that led to the violent January 6, 2021 attack by his supporters on the US Capitol.

Trump also faces federal charges for alleged mishandling of top secret documents after he left the White House and has been indicted for racketeering in Georgia on accusations that he tried to overturn the 2020 election results in the southern state.


AFP


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