Washington D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan had previously imposed a gag order on former President Donald Trump in his federal election interference case but also issued a temporary stay on her own order to allow Trump's attorneys time to challenge and appeal it.
On Sunday, however, following incendiary comments from Trump that would likely have violated the order if it had already been in effect, Chutkan lifted her own stay and reimposed the gag order to limit Trump's speech going forward, Breitbart reported.
The former president, in a furious response to that development, proclaimed of the judge's order that he has derided as unconstitutional, "It will not stand!"
According to the Associated Press, former President Trump lashed out angrily on social media last week about reports that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had been flipped to become a cooperative witness for Special Counsel Jack Smith, whom Trump also sharply disparaged.
"I don’t think Mark Meadows would lie about the Rigged and Stollen 2020 Presidential Election merely for getting IMMUNITY against Prosecution (PERSECUTION!) by Deranged Prosecutor, Jack Smith," Trump wrote in a Truth Social post which also alleged that prosecutors had unfairly threatened and coerced Meadows into testifying against him.
Trump added in the post, "Some people would make that deal, but they are weaklings and cowards, and so bad for the future our Failing Nation. I don’t think that Mark Meadows is one of them, but who really knows?"
On Sunday, Judge Chutkan issued a nine-page order to announce that she had denied a motion from Trump's attorneys to permanently stay the gag order and lifted her own temporary stay at the same time, which allowed the order to immediately go into effect.
Citing the above post from Trump, Chutkan wrote, "This statement would almost certainly violate the Order under any reasonable definition of 'targeting,'" given that her order, had it already been in effect, would have strictly prohibited Trump from singling out or "targeting" court staff, prosecutors, and potential witnesses.
"The statement singles out a foreseeable witness for purposes of characterizing his potentially unfavorable testimony as a 'lie' 'mad[e] up' to secure immunity, and it attacks him as a 'weakling and coward' if he provides that unfavorable testimony -- an attack that could readily be interpreted as an attempt to influence or prevent the witness’s participation in this case," she explained.
Trump and his attorneys had opposed the initial gag order as an unconstitutional violation of Trump's First Amendment-protected free speech, but Judge Chutkan knocked down all of their arguments and wrote, "As the court has explained, the First Amendment rights of participants in criminal proceedings must yield, when necessary, to the orderly administration of justice -- a principle reflected in Supreme Court precedent, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Local Criminal Rules."
"And contrary to Defendant’s argument, the right to a fair trial is not his alone, but belongs also to the government and the public," she continued. "Defendant’s repeated appeals to broad First Amendment values therefore ignore that the court -- pursuant to its obligation to protect the integrity of these proceedings -- recognized those values but, in balancing them against the potential prejudice resulting from certain kinds of statements, found them outweighed."
In response to Judge Chutkan's reimposition of the gag order, former President Trump toed the line of a potential contempt of court charge with a broadside attack against the judge on his Truth Social account on Sunday, though it is debatable if the judge herself is included as a prohibited target for criticism in the gag order.
"I have just learned that the very Biased, Trump Hating Judge in D.C., who should have RECUSED herself due to her blatant and open loathing of your favorite President, ME, has reimposed a GAG ORDER which will put me at a disadvantage against my prosecutorial and political opponents," Trump wrote. "This order, according to many legal scholars, is unthinkable! It illegally and unconstitutionally takes away my First Amendment Right of Free Speech, in the middle of my campaign for President, where I am leading against BOTH Parties in the Polls."
"Few can believe this is happening, but I will appeal," he added. "How can they tell the leading candidate that he, and only he, is seriously restricted from campaigning in a free and open manner? It will not stand!"