By Mike Scarcella
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Donald Trump's lawyers will ask a federal appeals court on Monday to overturn a gag order that has prevented the former president from targeting some participants in a criminal case accusing him of illegally trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
U.S. Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, who is overseeing the case, imposed the ban after she found that Trump's public statements and social media posts could influence witnesses and lead to threats against lawyers and other public officials.
Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has criticized the gag order as a constraint on his free speech rights as he mounts a White House comeback bid.
A similar restriction in a separate civil business fraud case in New York was temporarily lifted by a state appeals court judge last week. He promptly resumed his attacks on a court clerk involved in the case.
In social media posts and presidential campaign appearances, Trump has said court officials and others involved in his legal woes are politically biased, leading to fears that his targets could face physical threats from his supporters.
The gag order in the federal case allows Trump and his lawyers to criticize the Justice Department, but they are not allowed to target prosecutors, court staff and other potential witnesses. It has been suspended during Trump's appeal.
The case is set to go to trial in March 2024, during the height of the Republican nominating contest to take on Biden in the November 2024 presidential election. Opinion polls show Trump leading his Republican rivals by a wide margin.
Trump is charged with conspiring to interfere with the official tally of the 2020 presidential race, which heRead more on investing.com