According to Newsweek, on Thanksgiving, the Department of Justice (DOJ) argued in a court filing that a gag order against former President Donald Trump must remain in place.
The filing emphasized documents filed as part of the $250 million civil fraud trial in New York, where state Attorney General Letitia James accuses Trump of fraudulently inflating the value of his properties in financial statements.
Cecil Vandevender, an assistant special counsel for the DOJ, notified the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals about the document, stating that a gag order needs reinstatement during the civil proceedings in New York.
The court filing referred to threatening and harassing voicemail messages sent to Judge Arthur Engoron, overseeing the civil trial, and his law clerk Allison Greenfield.
The DOJ’s move comes as the appeals court in D.C. considers limiting the scope of the gag order imposed by Judge Tanya Chutkan against Trump in the federal election case.
This order prohibits Trump from attacking prosecutors or any potential witnesses ahead of next year’s federal trial. Trump and his legal team argue that any gag order against a presidential candidate violates his First Amendment rights.
The D.C. appeals court previously requested evidence of “ongoing threats and harassment” surrounding Trump. Vandevender submitted evidence from New York on Thanksgiving to bolster the argument that the gag order imposed by Chutkan should remain in place.
THE GAG ORDER APPOINTS AN UNELECTED FEDERAL JUDGE TO CENSOR WHAT THE LEADING CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MAY SAY TO ALL AMERICANS, JUST WEEKS BEFORE THE IOWA CAUCUSES,” THE STATEMENT SAID.
“NO COURT HAS EVER UPHELD A GAG ORDER ON CORE POLITICAL SPEECH AT THE HEIGHT OF A CAMPAIGN. JUST YESTERDAY, THE NEW YORK APPELLATE DIVISION STAYED A SIMILAR GAG ORDER AGAINST PRESIDENT TRUMP’S CORE POLITICAL SPEECH. THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL GAG ORDER IN THE DC CASE SHOULD BE SPEEDILY REVERSED.”