During a court hearing on Monday, Chutkan ordered “narrowly tailored” restrictions on Trump’s speech and social media activity related to his federal election subversion trial, partially granting the request of prosecutors who said that the ex-president had made threatening remarks about key figures in the case.
Trump Jr. claimed in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the decision from Chutkan was evidence that his father’s political enemies do not “believe in democracy” and were attempting to “cancel” the ex-president while he seeks to regain the presidency as the leading Republican candidate in the 2024 election.
“The left doesn’t actually believe in democracy or freedom of speech,” Trump Jr. wrote. “They’re just talking points … you’re only allowed to believe what they say and anyone who goes contrary to that will be silenced, shut down, or canceled. This is simply Exhibit 2,504,076 of that reality.”
Chutkan’s order specifically bans the former president from furthering a “smear campaign” by targeting Special Counsel Jack Smith, court staff, prosecutors and potential witnesses. The judge said that she would impose “sanctions as may be necessary” if the order is violated, although it was not clear what those sanctions would entail.
The order does not prevent Trump from asserting his belief that the “prosecution is politically motivated” or from criticizing President Joe Biden, with Chutkan calling Trump’s right to take both actions “critical First Amendment freedoms.”
In response to Newsweek’s request for comment, a spokesperson for the former president said in an email that the gag order was “an absolute abomination and another partisan knife stuck in the heart of our Democracy by Crooked Joe Biden,” suggesting without evidence that the current president was personally behind Chutkan’s order.
“President Trump will continue to fight for our Constitution, the American people’s right to support him, and to keep our country free of the chains of weaponized and targeted law enforcement,” the spokesperson added.
Trump himself weighed in on the order in a pair of all-caps Truth Social posts a short time after the ruling. The former president vowed to appeal, claiming that it was part of an overarching “witch hunt” against him.
“WILL APPEAL THE GAG ORDER RULING. WITCH HUNT!” Trump wrote. “A TERRIBLE THING HAPPENED TO DEMOCRACY TODAY – GAG ORDER!”
The former president also shared a post from conservative judicial activist Mike Davis, who claimed that the order was “clearly unconstitutional” and that “gagging a presidential candidate is what happens in third-world Marxist hellholes.”
In the hours before Chutkan made her ruling, the Trump campaign sent a fundraising email to supporters that claimed to be a “final” message from the ex-president. The email strikes a familiar note in claiming that the court action against Trump was meant to target his supporters.
“Today really isn’t about gagging me … It’s an attempt to gag the American people,” the email reads. “Now, they’ve decided to try and FORCIBLY SILENCE me — and, by extension, our movement — by imposing a court-sanctioned gag order upon me.”
Trump is facing four felony charges in the case being overseen by Chutkan and a total of 91 felony counts spread across all four of the criminal indictments filed against him this year. Trump pleaded not guilty on all counts and claims to be the victim of political “persecution” and “election interference.”