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Buckle up for a big gag order week in Trump’s D.C., N.Y. cases

The former president’s federal gag order is back on in Washington, while it may be tested yet again in state court in New York.

By

The significance of Donald Trump’s gag orders is on full display in the week ahead, with his Washington order freshly back in play and his New York order set to be tested yet again, as some of his children and Trump himself are slated to take the stand in the family business’ civil fraud trial.

To kick off the week before it even started, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan reinstated her restrictions on Sunday. The judge previously had agreed to pause them temporarily, but her latest ruling shows that Trump couldn’t convince her to keep them paused while he appeals. Expect the former president’s legal team to ask the federal appeals court in Washington to pause the order anew while his lawyers press the court to overturn it entirely. ?

But for now, the order is on in Washington ahead of Trump’s election subversion trial set for March, the first trial scheduled of his four criminal cases.

That means Trump may think twice about posting statements like the one implicating his onetime White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who could be a key witness against his ex-boss. Chutkan’s opinion explaining her decision to reinstate the order showed her thinking on why such a statement, which Trump issued while the order was paused, “would almost certainly violate the Order.”?

As a reminder of what Trump’s D.C. order covers, I explained earlier this month that it bars the parties from:

making any public statements, or directing others to make any public statements, that target (1) the Special Counsel prosecuting this case or his staff; (2) defense counsel or their staff; (3) any of this court’s staff or other supporting personnel; or (4) any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of their testimony.

That’s not to be confused with the gag order in Trump’s fraud case in New York, imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron.

The judge has already twice found that Trump violated the order against speaking about his court staff. Both fines have been relatively meager for a billionaire — the first was $5,000 and the second was $10,000. With some of his children and Trump himself set to testify in the Manhattan civil courtroom, don’t be surprised to see more hostile statements from the former president, with the stress of the Trumps walking a testimonial tightrope of trying to save their empire. Whether Engoron delivers on his threat of imprisonment for future violations remains to be seen, because, so far, he only slightly upped the fine for a repeat violation.

Notably, these cases come to a head as a trial in Colorado gets underway this week over whether Trump is barred from office under the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban. The leading GOP presidential candidate isn’t expected to attend that proceeding — which Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold called him out on — but that might be another legal factor under his skin that could translate to outbursts.?

As ever, the question will be what judges do about them.

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