After a day of hearing arguments by an attorney for Donald Trump along with an attorney from the office of special counsel Jack Smith, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit did not seem ready to strike down a gag order issued in a lower court. However, they did give indications that the order may be significantly narrowed in its effect on Trump.
In October, Judge Tanya Chutkan placed a gag order on Donald Trump that restricted his ability to target court staff, potential witnesses, and members of the office of the special counsel. Trump was still free to make all the remarks he wanted about the unfairness of the trial, to spread false claims about President Joe Biden initiating the case, and to demean both the city and citizens of Washington, D.C. He just couldn’t name-drop people involved in the case and expose them to danger from Trump supporters who have repeatedly engaged in acts of violence.
Four days later, the appeals court put the gag order on ice, freeing Trump to resume his attacks on Smith, Chutkan, and potential witnesses. Trump’s legal team followed this with a court filing in which they argued that Chutkan had inserted herself into the 2024 election and requested that the appeals court reverse the gag order. But based on the questioning from the judges, the hearing doesn’t seem to have gone that well for Trump.