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On Dec. 8, Judges Cornelia Pillard, Patricia Millett, and Bradley Garcia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan's limited gag order on former President Donald Trump.
The court affirmed Chutkan's order to the extent that it prohibits parties and counsel from making public statements, or directing others to make public statements, about known witnesses—as well as those who may be reasonably foreseeable witnesses—regarding their participation in the criminal proceedings or the ongoing investigation.
The court also affirmed Chutkan's order to the extent that it prohibits parties and counsel from making public statements, or directing others to make public statements, regarding three categories of speech, to the extent that those statements "are made with the intent to materially interfere with, or to cause others to materially interfere with, counsel’s or staff’s work in this criminal case, or with the knowledge that such interference is highly likely to result." Those three categories are statements about: 1) counsel in the case besides Special Counsel Jack Smith; 2) court staff and personnel; or 3) family of counsel and court staff or personnel.
But other than these specified categories, the court vacated the rest of the district court's order. The court also specifically noted what it finds Trump is allowed to comment on:
As should be clear, but to avoid any potential doubt, as affirmed in part and vacated in part, the Order also leaves open the categories of speech the district court explicitly stated were permissible under its initial ruling. See Order at 3. Mr. Trump is free to make statements criticizing the current administration, the Department of Justice, and the Special Counsel, as well as statements that this prosecution is politically motivated or that he is innocent of the charges against him.