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Trump seeks appeal of partial gag order in 2020 federal election case

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© Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Manhattan courthouse trial in a civil fraud case in New York, U.S., October 17, 2023. REUTERS/Bing Guan

WASHINGTON () -Lawyers for Donald Trump on Tuesday filed a notice to appeal a partial gag order in the case accusing the former U.S. President of illegally attempting to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington on Monday barred Trump from making public statements that “target” U.S. prosecutors, court staff and potential witnesses involved in the case.

The judge found that Trump’s public statements and social media posts may influence witnesses and lead to threats and harassment against lawyers and other “public servants.”

“Defendant’s presidential candidacy cannot excuse statements that would otherwise intolerably jeopardize these proceedings,” Chutkan said in a written order published on Tuesday, a day after she outlined her findings at a court hearing.

Trump, who has pleaded not guilty, has sharply criticized Chutkan’s decision as a constraint on his free speech rights while running for president as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024. He vowed to appeal the ruling during campaign speeches on Monday.

The gag order allows Trump to continue criticizing the U.S. Justice Department and denounce the prosecution as politically motivated. It also allows Trump to condemn former Vice President Mike Pence, a 2024 presidential rival and likely witness in the case, but prohibits discussion of Pence’s potential testimony.

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