Lawyers for former President Donald Trump filed a formal notice of appeal Tuesday after a federal judge barred him from publicly disparaging witnesses, prosecutors and court staff involved in the criminal case, alleging he had illegally attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia came hours after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan made her Monday order official in a written ruling.
“All interested parties in this matter, including the parties and their attorneys, are prohibited from making public statements, or directing others to make public statements, that target (1) the special prosecutor in charge to prosecute this case or its staff; (2) defense attorneys or their staff; (3) any member of this court staff or other support personnel; or (4) any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of his or her testimony “, indicates the decision.
Chutkan added that the order “should not be construed to prohibit defendant from making statements critical of the government generally, including the current administration or the Department of Justice; statements asserting that the defendant is innocent of the charges against him or that his prosecution is politically motivated.” ; or statements criticizing the campaign platforms or policies of the defendant’s current political rivals, such as former Vice President Pence.
Trump called the decision “unconstitutional” after the judge announced her order Monday, and complained about it again Tuesday to reporters at a New York courthouse where he and his company are fighting a civil fraud suit of $250 million brought by the state attorney general. desk.
“The judge basically said I don’t have the right to speak,” Trump said. “My word has been taken away from me. I am a candidate running for office and I am not allowed to speak.
In his ruling, Chutkan said the partial silence was necessary and that Trump’s lawyers’ assertion “that no limits can be placed on the defendant’s speech because he is engaged in a political campaign is untenable.” .
“Undisputed testimony cited by the government demonstrates that when the defendant publicly attacks individuals, particularly on matters related to this case, those individuals are consequently threatened and harassed,” Chutkan wrote.
“The defendant made these statements in front of a national audience using language indicating not only that he believes the process is illegitimate, but also that some people involved in this process are liars, or ‘thugs,’ or deserve death”, she added, estimating that “such statements present a significant and immediate risk.
In a brief filed last month, Trump’s team argued that the silence order sought by prosecutors was politically motivated, calling it “nothing more than a clear attempt by the Biden administration to silence illegally his main political opponent, who has now taken power.” leading in the polls. »
The case is expected to go to trial in March. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction; and conspiracy against the right to vote and have your vote counted.