Trump seeks to freeze gag order in election case during appeal | ET REALITY

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Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump on Friday asked the judge overseeing his federal election interference case to temporarily suspend the gag order imposed on him in Washington this week until an appeals court can decide whether it was justified.

The stay request filed by John F. Lauro, Trump’s lawyer, was a two-pronged effort to free the former president from restrictions on his public comments on the case and delay the process for as long as possible. .

Delay has been a strategy followed by Trump both in the election interference trial and in the other federal case he faces, one in which he is accused of illegally withholding dozens of classified documents after he left office and then obstructing efforts of the government to recover them. them.

Shortly after, Mr. Lauro presented his 33 page motion, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan agreed to freeze the gag order for at least eight days, giving the defense and prosecution time to file additional documents on the matter. Judge Chutkan’s decision came the same day that a state judge in New York handling Trump’s civil fraud trial fined him $5,000 for violating that judge’s gag order.

Lauro filed a formal notice indicating that he intended to appeal Judge Chutkan’s gag order shortly after she imposed it in an adversarial hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington on Monday. The order, which followed several threatening social media posts that Trump had written about participants in the case, prohibited the former president from attacking members of her own judicial staff; the special prosecutor, Jack Smith, and any member of her staff, or any witnesses who may testify at Trump’s trial.

Mr. Lauro’s motion, which sounds like the appellate brief that had not yet been filed, presented several arguments that Judge Chutkan had already rejected.

He attacked the gag order as “shockingly overbroad” and “unconstitutionally vague,” saying it “violates virtually every fundamental principle of our First Amendment jurisprudence.”

Lauro also said the order trampled not only on Trump’s own ability to speak freely as he campaigns for the nation’s highest office, but also “guts the rights” of his supporters, preventing them from “hearing President Trump’s thoughts.” on important topics.”

Additionally, Lauro attempted to frame the gag order as an attempt by President Biden to “silence” Trump, even though the case as a whole was handed over to Smith, an independent prosecutor, just days after Trump declared his candidacy.

It is not yet clear how long the gag order appeal process could take. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which will hear the matter, has not yet set a timetable for considering the issue.

Trump, in private conversations with aides, has made no secret of the fact that he believes winning the election is the best solution to his series of legal problems.

And prosecutors in Smith’s office have repeatedly accused him and his lawyers of dragging his feet and trying to delay both the election interference and classified documents cases until after the 2024 election. If that were to happen, and Trump won the career, could have his attorney general simply dismiss the charges.

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