According to a report by Mediaite on Friday, December 8, 2023, a federal appeals court has rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to lift a gag order that bars him from using social media platforms and speaking publicly about his criminal case over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on Friday that the order, issued by a district judge in June, is necessary to protect the integrity of the judicial process and prevent further violence.
The order was imposed after Trump repeatedly attacked the potential witnesses and prosecutors in his case, accusing them of being part of a “witch hunt” and a “deep state” conspiracy.
The court found that Trump’s statements “have the potential to undermine public confidence in the rule of law and the administration of justice.”
However, the court also modified the order to allow Trump to criticize Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
The court said that Smith is a public figure who is subject to public scrutiny and that Trump has a right to express his opinions about him, as long as he does not incite violence or interfere with the investigation.
Trump’s lawyers hailed the ruling as a partial victory, saying that the court recognized that Trump has a right to defend himself against Smith’s “unfounded and politically motivated” charges.
They also vowed to continue challenging the gag order, which they called “unconstitutional and unprecedented.”
Smith’s lawyers said they were satisfied that the court upheld the core of the gag order, which they said was essential to ensure a fair and impartial trial for Trump.
They also said they were confident that Donald Trump’s criticism of Smith would not affect the outcome of the case, which they said was based on “overwhelming evidence” of Trump’s culpability in the Capitol attack.
Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges of obstructing an official proceeding, inciting a riot, and conspiracy.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He has also pleaded not guilty to three other criminal cases in Georgia, New York, and Florida, related to his attempts to overturn the election results and his business dealings.
His trial in Washington is scheduled to begin in March 2024.