Judge Chutkan temporarily freezes Trump gag order in 2020 election subversion case

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US District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Friday temporarily froze the gag order she issued on Donald Trump in the former president’s federal 2020 election subversion criminal case.

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.

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.

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.

The pause comes days after Chutkan presided over a contentious hearing where Trump’s attorneys and federal prosecutors clashed over how Trump would be able to discuss special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution against him on the campaign trail.

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

The gag order, which was limited in scope, had prohibited Trump from making certain types of statements about the special counsel’s team or potential witnesses, including any comments that directly targeted court personnel, potential witnesses or the special counsel and his staff.

However, the gag order did not prevent Trump from making disparaging comments about Washington, DC, where the trial is slated to take place next year. Trump was allowed to make certain comments about the Justice Department at large. Chutkan had specified that Trump “can certainly state that he is being unfairly prosecuted.”

Meanwhile on Friday, the former president was fined $5,000 by a New York judge presiding over his civil fraud trial for violating another gag order that bars him from speaking about any members of the court staff.

Judge Arthur Engoron had issued the order in that case earlier this month after Trump posted about the judge’s clerk on Truth Social.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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