Trump lawyers argue against Gag order in election tampering case

10:25 am ET, November 20, 2023

Judge Millett is skeptical about allowing Trump rhetoric.

From CNN’s Marshall Cohen

DC Circuit Judge Patricia Millett distinguished between campaign rhetoric and speech “intended to derail or subvert the criminal justice process.”

These comments and others during the hearing suggest that Millett is at least leaning toward imposing some form of speech restrictions against Trump, rather than accepting his position and wiping the bitter row off the books entirely.

“Criminal speech, obviously, is prohibited. But important political speech, that’s part of campaign speech,” said Trump lawyer John Sauer, arguing that restrictions on all criminal defendants against illegal speech, such as blatant witness tampering, are sufficient to protect the integrity of the case.

Cutting him off, Millett said: “Labeling it ‘critical political speech’ begs the question of whether it’s really political speech or political speech that derails or subverts the criminal justice process. You can’t just name it and end your balance checks that way.”

“We have to strike a balance,” he added.

Sawyer responded by arguing that discourse is “inextricably tied to the issues that are publicly debated in the context of a campaign.”

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