Former President Donald Trump made waves at a rally on Monday following a partial gag order issued by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. This order was made at the request of special counsel Jack Smith during a court session in Washington, D.C.
The case being overseen by Judge Chutkan involves charges related to the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol Building. Smith’s legal team argued that Trump’s public statements, both on social media and elsewhere, posed a threat to court staff, the court itself, and federal officers associated with the trial. They also contended that Trump’s words were an attempt to prejudice the jury pool prior to the trial.
“First Amendment protections yield to the administration of justice and to the protection of witnesses,” Judge Tanya Chutkan said Monday as she issued the gag order, Politico reported. “His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify … public servants who are simply doing their job.”
However, at his rally in Clive, Iowa, Trump displayed a defiant demeanor and even made a resolute declaration. At one point, he pledged that he would not refrain from speaking about his numerous legal cases, even if it meant facing incarceration, as the 2024 campaign season intensifies.
“They’re getting beaten very badly by me in the polls. They think the only way they can catch me is to stop me from speaking, they want to take away my voice. A judge gave a gag order today. Did you hear that? On speech. Which I believe is totally unconstitutional, what she did,” Trump said at one point, according to a video posted by RSBN to the X platform.
“A judge gave a gag order. A judge doesn’t like me too much. Her whole life is not liking me,” he continued.
“She gave me a gag order. Do you know what a gag order is? You can’t speak badly about your opponent,” he continued. “But this is weaponry all being done because Joe Biden is losing the election. And losing very, very badly to all of us in the polls.”
Trump then made this vow: “But what they don’t understand is that I am willing to go to jail if that’s what it takes for our country to win and to become a democracy again.” (See video below)
The practicalities of imprisoning a former president are somewhat uncertain, especially considering that he is legally entitled to round-the-clock Secret Service protection.
The former president received an order to cease making public statements after posting about a law clerk on Truth Social during his civil fraud trial in New York last week.
“Given that the defendant—after apparently reviewing opposition research on court staff—chose to use social media to publicly attack a court staffer, there is cause for concern about what he may do with social media research on potential jurors in this case,” Smith wrote in the motion.
Smith requested “reasonable and standard restrictions” to limit the ability of parties in the case “to conduct research on potential jurors during jury selection and trial and to use juror research.” He also urged strict enforcement of “standard practices in this District designed to shield juror identities from the public,” Axios noted.