OAN’s Daniel Baldwin
12:30 PM – Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Both Iowa and West Virginia are co-leading an amicus brief to the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals opposing a federal court’s gag order on former President Donald Trump.
“President Trump enjoys First Amendment rights to speak—and American citizens enjoy an essential right to hear what he has to say,” the amicus brief reads.
The amicus brief was spearheaded by Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird and West Virginia Attorney General, both of whom have endorsed Trump for president.
“Restricting a political candidate’s free speech while they run for office is a dangerous precedent & a disservice to American voters,” Bird wrote on X, the platform formally known as Twitter.
“Proud to co-lead this effort with Iowa to ensure that President Trump’s First Amendment rights are protected,” wrote Morrisey.
Judge Tanya Chutkan’s gag order prohibits Trump from targeting Special Counsel Jack Smith, his staff, the court staff, and any reasonably foreseeable witness.
Bird and Morrisey argued that Chutkan’s gag order was “impermissibly vague” and would “unlawfully chill President Trump’s speech.” In addition, they pointed out that federal prosecutors had failed to produce evidence that any of Trump’s speech directly caused harassment or threats.
“The prosecution introduced no evidence that any group protected by the entered order—prosecutor, witness, or court staff—experienced threats or harassment following any of President Trump’s ‘communications with the electorate,’” the amicus brief read.
Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah joined the Iowa- and West Virginia-led brief.
Trump’s legal team has argued that the gag order was unprecedented and violated the 45th president’s First Amendment rights. They also claimed that it was an example of a heckler’s veto.
Federal prosecutors say that when Trump targets others, it results in third party individuals and groups harassing and threatening the subject of Trump’s statements. They also claim the gag order is narrowly tailored, since it permits Trump to criticize President Joe Biden and the federal government.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from the Trump legal team and prosecutors on Monday, November 20.
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