Following U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan‘s decision to impose a partial gag order against Donald Trump in his federal election interference case, the former president issued an eight-word response.
Chutkan announced at the end of Monday’s hearing that she would impose a “narrowly tailored” gag order against Trump in the federal election interference case at the request of prosecutors, who cited the former president’s threatening comments about the key players in the courtroom as reason to restrict his speech on the case. The partial order bars Trump from making or posting any statements publicly targeting special counsel Jack Smith, his staff, as well as court staff and personnel in his case.
In an all-caps post to Truth Social, Trump shared that he would appeal the partial gag order.
“WILL APPEAL THE GAG ORDER RULING. WITCH HUNT!” Trump said.
While this is not the first time Trump has been issued a gag order—he was previously issued one in a separate case in his $250 million civil fraud trial—the former president’s status as the GOP frontrunner in the 2024 presidential election has led him to allege the gag order is politically motivated.
His warning to appeal comes after Trump reiterated his view of the then-possible gag order, sending an email blast to supporters.
In a fundraising email, Trump wrote, “Because I may be prohibited from speaking out against [President Joe Biden‘s] corruption as of later today, I want to say all I can right now in this final email to you before the hearing.
“Today really isn’t about gagging me…. It’s an attempt to gag the American people,” Trump said.
He said that while Americans had long been “silenced by the Washington Swamp” and had their priorities cast aside by politicians on Capitol Hill, “that all changed on June 16, 2015 when I announced my candidacy as a political outsider.”
While Trump has continued to allege the partial gag order is politically motivated, law professor and political scientist Anthony Michael Kreis told Newsweek the imposed gag order is there to protect individuals involved in the case—while also balancing Trump’s freedom of speech.
“The order is tailored to protect the administration of justice by shielding individuals involved in the case from Trump’s attacks while still permitting Trump to criticize the prosecution in broad terms. Judge Chutkan’s strong but limited order tries to balance the interests of the judicial process’ integrity against Trump’s free speech interests, which is a prudent measure given Trump’s penchant for going after people involved in the cases against him,” Kreis said in a statement emailed to Newsweek.
Chutkan has scheduled Trump’s trial to begin on March 4.