Last week, Donald Trump was hit with a second gag order, this one by Judge Chutkan in the January 6 case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
On Friday, that order was temporarily lifted, shocking everyone.
Special Counsel Jack Smith previously submitted his motion, which was under consideration by Judge Chutkan.
Once Judge Engoron hit Trump with a gag order in the Georgia case, we had stated that the gag order on January 6 was more likely to be approved.
On October 16, Judge Chutkan approved the limited gag order, which forbade Trump from making any public statement about potential witnesses or disparaging comments about the prosecutors.
Judge Chutkan stated:
"Mr. Trump may still vigorously seek public support as a presidential candidate, debate policies and people related to that candidacy, criticize the current administration and assert his belief that this prosecution is politically motivated. But those critical first amendment freedoms do not allow him to launch a pre-trial smear campaign against participating government staff, their families and foreseeable witnesses.
"Mr. Trump can certainly claim he's being unfairly prosecuted, but I cannot imagine any other criminal case in which a defendant is permitted to call the prosecutor 'deranged' or 'a thug,' and I will not permit it here simply because the defendant is running a political campaign. His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify and implicitly encourage violence against public servants who are simply doing their job."
On October 17, Trump's attorneys appealed against the gag order, citing Trump's candidacy for president.
"No Court in American history has imposed a gag order on a criminal defendant who is campaigning for public office — least of all, on the leading candidate for President of the United States."
Judge Chutkan has now agreed to lift the temporary order while this appeals process plays out.
"Upon consideration of Defendant's opposed 110 Motion for Stay Pending Appeal, Request for Temporary Administrative Stay, and Memorandum in Support, it is hereby ORDERED that the court's 105 Opinion and Order is administratively STAYED to permit the parties' briefing and the court's consideration of Defendant's Motion."
This is a big opportunity for Trump to have this lifted permanently if he can dial down the rhetoric just a bit so it is not so "threatening" in nature.
Chutkan has already stated that Trump can criticize the Department of Justice, and he can still suggest that the case is politically motivated. It is just the personal attacks they are trying to stop.
It does not benefit Trump to continue those attacks if it means he gets slapped with a gag order.
These cases have been goldmines for Trump in terms of fundraising, so he will lose a significant and very successful tool in his campaign chest if the gag order is permitted to remain in place during the course of this trial.
If I were his attorneys, I would plead with him to have someone on the legal team review his posts before he makes them to ensure they are able to keep that gag order at bay while this trial takes place by avoiding over-inflammatory comments and personal attacks against court staffers.