Obama appointed judge Tanya Chutkan placed a gag order on former President and current Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, on Monday, restricting Trump from speaking about special counsel Jack Smith, his staff, witnesses and court personnel.
The gag order is the first of its kind on a presidential candidate and legal experts are warning that the decision is “Uncharted Territory” and that the decision violates his first amendment rights, both as a citizen and as a candidate.
“This is not about whether I like the language Mr. Trump uses,” Judge Tanya Chutkan said. “This is about language that presents a danger to the administration of justice.”
“His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify public servants who are simply doing their jobs,” the judge added.
“Mr. Trump is a criminal defendant. He is facing four felony charges. He is under the supervision of the criminal justice system and he must follow his conditions of release,” Chutkan said Monday during the hearing.
“He does not have the right to say and do exactly what he pleases. Do you agree with that?” she asked Trump attorney John Lauro, who responded: “100%.”
“When you start to use a word like ‘thug’ to describe a prosecutor doing their job, that wouldn’t be allowed by any other criminal defendant,” Chutkan said. “Just because the defendant is running a political campaign does not allow him to do whatever he wants.”
Chutkan added “If the message Mr. Trump wants to express is ‘my prosecution is politically motivated,’” he can do so without using “highly charged language.”
Zach Smith, Heritage Foundation legal fellow and former assistant U.S. attorney, told the Daily Caller News Foundation this is a “very serious matter.”
“Not only have we never before had a former president or leading presidential candidate being indicted in four different felony cases with 91 counts across those four cases, but we’ve also never, to my knowledge, had a leading presidential candidate who has had a gag order issued against him basically limiting what he’s allowed to say on the campaign trail,” he told the DCNF.
The order also limits Trump from talking about former Vice President Mike Pence, who is a witness in the case and currently running against the former President. Chutkan specified that Trump can comment on Pence, just not as it pertains to the case. Smith notes that the case is a “major part” of the coming election and that it should be appealed swiftly because of it’s effect on the campaign.
Lawyer and former federal prosecutor Bill Shipley suggested on Twitter that it is “quite possible” the gag order becomes the vehicle that launches Trump’s case to the Supreme Court via its emergency docket.
“There could be two avenues — both a direct appeal as part of the criminal case, and also a civil action seeking an injunction of the order on the basis that it is a violation of his constitutional rights as a candidate and part of the campaign,” he said, noting this would likely be “a first of its kind” action.
“Yes — there is case law that says a defendant in a criminal case can have his First Amendment rights to speak about the case curtailed,” he wrote. “But there has never been a case involving a candidate for POTUS being put in that position during the course of the campaign.”
“For better or worse, we’re in uncharted territory,” Smith told the DCNF.
Lawyer and Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter called the order a “disgraceful affront to the First Amendment.”
“Barring a criminal defendant from publicly criticizing the prosecutor and judge is clearly unconstitutional,” Article III Project founder and president Mike Davis wrote on Twitter. “Gagging a presidential candidate is what happens in third-world Marxist hellholes. The DC Circuit must fix DC Obama Judge Tanya Chutkan’s clearly erroneous ruling.”
“I’ll be the only politician in history that runs with a gag order where I’m not allowed to criticize people,” Trump said in a speech Monday. “We’ll appeal it, and we’ll see.”