Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, October 9, 2023.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Federal prosecutors are set to argue in court Monday that former President Donald Trump should be barred from making statements about potential trial witnesses and others that could prejudice his criminal election interference case in Washington, D.C.
But defense attorneys are poised to tell U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan that the effort to limit Trump’s out-of-court statements amounts to an attack on his First Amendment rights that would hinder his 2024 presidential campaign.
Trump himself has repeatedly railed against the prosecutors’ request for a partial gag order, accusing them of trying to “silence” him.
“Nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before,” Trump said Sunday night in a social media post that also attacked Chutkan as a “highly partisan Obama appointed Judge.”
The hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., is set for 10 a.m. ET.
Prosecutors from the office of special counsel Jack Smith asked for a partial gag on Trump order last month, arguing that his social media tirades against the case threatened to undermine its integrity and taint the jury pool.
Smith’s Sept. 15 court filing cited numerous posts from Trump’s Truth Social account targeting Chutkan, the prosecutors, the court, the citizens who comprise the D.C. jury pool, and potential witnesses in the case.
Trump’s posts are intended “to undermine confidence in the criminal justice system and prejudice the jury pool through disparaging and inflammatory attacks,” Smith argued.
Smith noted that his criminal indictment against Trump accuses him of using the same tactic as part of his efforts to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to the four-count indictment, one of four separate criminal cases against him as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump was already hit with a partial gag order earlier this month in his civil business fraud case in Manhattan. The judge presiding over the trial in that civil case barred the parties from making any public statements about his staff after Trump sent a social media post attacking the judge’s law clerk.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.