Former President Donald Trump asked a federal appeals court Thursday to lift a gag order imposed by a federal judge in Washington, D.C.
United States District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the District of Columbia, who is an Obama appointee, imposed the gag order Oct. 16 at the request of special counsel Jack Smith. Smith secured a four-count indictment of Trump relating to his efforts to contest the results of the 2020 election on Aug. 1.
“The district court entered a sweeping, viewpoint-based prior restraint on the core political speech of a major Presidential candidate, based solely on an unconstitutional ‘heckler’s veto,’” Trump attorneys wrote in a brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
“President Trump’s viewpoint and modes of expression resonate powerfully with tens of millions of Americans,” Trump’s attorneys wrote. “The prosecution’s request for a Gag Order bristles with hostility to President Trump’s viewpoint and his relentless criticism of the government—including of the prosecution itself. The Gag Order embodies this unconstitutional hostility to President Trump’s viewpoint.”
“The Gag Order silences public criticism of quintessential public figures—speech entitled to the highest level of First Amendment protection,” Trump attorneys wrote. “The Special Prosecutor and his team are high-level government officials who volunteered for highest-profile criminal case in modern history, and thus ‘thrust’ themselves ‘into the vortex of this public issue.’”