Former President Trump’s gag order in his Washington, D.C. 2020 election interference case has been deemed “unconstitutional” by law professor Jonathan Turley.
“They decided in perhaps an abundance of caution to order this stoppage until they can give it a full review,” Turley said Laura Ingraham. “The reason I think this could be quite significant is because I think the order is unconstitutional. I said that when it was first issued.”
The professor added that it is a “very odd concept of an order because the court here insisted on having this trial before the election – sort of shoehorned it in before Super Tuesday – and everyone in this election’s going to be talking about these cases except one person under this gag order and that is Donald Trump.” (Trending: CNN Poll Is Bad News For Biden)
Jonathan Turley: Trump gag order is unconstitutional. pic.twitter.com/9ZptFTRUt2
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) November 4, 2023
The gag order was temporarily lifted by the U.S. Court of Appeals in order for the D.C. Circuit to consider Trump’s request for a longer pause.
Trump’s attorneys argue that the gag order violates the First Amendment.
“No court in American history has imposed a gag order on a criminal defendant who is actively campaigning for public office — let alone the leading candidate for President of the United States,” Trump’s attorneys wrote. “The Gag Order violates the First Amendment rights of President Trump and over 100 million Americans who listen to him.”
The order restricts Trump from targeting Special Counsel Jack Smith, but he can still make general complaints and assert his claims of innocence.
Turley criticized the expanded gag order, pointing out that Smith requested it “in an equally unconstitutional way and that has drawn the criticism of even the ACLU, which is a staunch critic of Donald Trump. But the ACLU has said, ‘Look, this is flagrantly unconstitutional’”
He emphasized that “millions of people believe the criminal justice system has been weaponized” with Trump’s indictments “and whether that’s true or not, when you hold these trials before the election everyone’s going to be talking about it and there’s going to be sharp criticism.”
Turley then pointed out that such orders are generally meant for the protection of the jury, “so they’re not influenced by all of the publicity that might be generated.”
He said the consideration for the court of appeals is “What is the purpose of this” order? “If you’re silencing not only one of these leading candidates in the election where this is being debated but he can’t even criticize his former opponent Michael Pence or the witnesses bringing evidence against him that I think is pretty problematic and she’s going to have a hard time – the court, that is – to sustain this if not from the D.C. circuit, the Supreme Court. And if it goes to the Supreme Court that could very well cause issues with her scheduling.”
The purpose of the gag order has been heavily questioned, as it prevents Trump from criticizing his opponents and witnesses.
Turley believes the Supreme Court may end up involved if the case is pushed to such a level, potentially causing scheduling issues.
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