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Judge In Trump’s DC Trial Issues Temporary Freeze On Gag Order

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump got a much-needed victory in his federal classified documents case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

On Friday, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan placed a temporary freeze on the gag order she imposed on the former president, CNN reported.

“In a brief order, Chutkan, who is overseeing the case against Trump in Washington, DC, said she was issuing the administrative stay of the gag order entered earlier this week to give the parties more time to brief her on the former president’s request to pause the order while his appeal of it plays out,” the report said.

“Chutkan also said that the Justice Department has until Wednesday to respond to Trump’s request for a longer pause on the gag order and that Trump would have until the following Saturday to reply to the government’s filing,” it said.

“Trump has already appealed the gag order to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and in a 33-page filing on Friday, his attorneys urged Chutkan to pause the order while that appeal plays out,” it said.

The judge said that Smith’s team would have to file any objections to an extended stay of the gag order, requested by the former president, by October 25 and that the former president’s team would have to file a response by October 28.

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“Upon consideration of Defendant’s opposed 110 Motion for Stay Pending Appeal, Request for Temporary Administrative Stay, and Memorandum in Support, it is hereby ORDERED that the court’s 105 Opinion and Order is administratively STAYED to permit the parties’ briefing and the court’s consideration of Defendant’s Motion,” the judge said.

The former president’s attorneys argued for a stay and asked her for a freeze as they presented their case.

“No Court in American history has imposed a gag order on a criminal defendant who is campaigning for public office — least of all, on the leading candidate for President of the United States,” the attorneys said.

It comes days after Smith’s Team and the former president’s team got heated in court on how he could talk about the prosecution against him on the campaign trail.

“I understand that you have a message you want to get out,” the judge said during that hearing. “I do not need to hear any campaign rhetoric in my court.”

But in another courtroom on Friday things did not go the way the former president wanted them to.

The judge presiding over the bank fraud trial of former President Donald Trump threatened to jail him and impose heavy fines on him for “blatantly” violating a gag order by refusing to remove a website post that attacked court staff.

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The trial got underway on a serious note on Friday, with Justice Arthur F. Engoron laying out the high stakes and demanding explanations from Trump’s attorneys.

“In the current overheated climate, incendiary comments can, and in some cases already have, led to serious physical harm and worse. I will now allow the defendants to explain why this blatant violation of the gag order would not result in serious sanctions, including financial sanctions and/or possibly imprisoning him,” Engoron said.

The New York bank fraud trial that Engoron is presiding over is a civil matter, meaning that Trump will not face imprisonment but rather fines and the possible destruction of his real estate empire.

The judge then threatened Trump by saying he could spend time behind bars if he did not comply, the Daily Beast reported.

Christopher Kise, Trump’s defense attorney, quickly issued an apology, attributing the incident to a simple oversight on the part of Trump’s massive “campaign machinery” in failing to delete a webpage that replicated the Truth Social post that Trump had already deleted.

“There was no intention to evade or circumvent or ignore the order. I assure you that. I just know that this is a very large machine and this is one of the reasons, frankly, I don’t have social media,” Kise said, trying to deflect with some light humor.

“But that’s been taken down. And we don’t have any other… there were no subsequent postings,” Kise added.

“I will take that under advisement, but… Donald Trump is still responsible for the large machine,” Engoron reminded him.

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