A Washington, D.C., appeals court Friday mostly upheld, but narrowed, a gag order on Donald Trump (seen Thursday in the courtroom at N.Y. State Supreme Court for his business fraud civil trial) and his lawyers in the federal elections subversion case against him. Photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A Washington, D.C., appeals court Friday mostly upheld a gag order in Donald Trump's federal election subversion case but narrowed it to exclude Special Counsel Jack Smith.
The court's decision stated, "Specifically we affirm the order to the extent it prohibits all parties and their counsel from making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation in the investigation or in this criminal proceeding."
The court added that, "some aspects of Mr. Trump's public statements pose a significant and imminent threat to the fair and orderly adjudication of the ongoing criminal proceeding, warranting a speech-constraining protective order."
"Mr. Trump is free to make statements criticizing the current administration, the Department of Justice, and the Special Counsel, as well as statements that this prosecution is politically motivated or that he is innocent of the charges against him," the appeals court ruling said.
The appeals court order also affirmed the lower court's gag order "to the extent it prohibits all parties and their counsel from making or directing others to make public statements about (1) counsel in the case other than the special counsel, (2) members of the court's staff and counsel's staffs, or (3) the family members of any counsel or staff member."
That removes Special Counsel Jack Smith from the gag order on Trump and his lawyers.
The appeals court ruling said the gag order in question "sweeps in more protected speech than is necessary. For that reason, we affirm the district court's order in part and vacate it in part."