Trump Responds to Thanksgiving Day DOJ Filing

Former President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump | Image by Al Teich/Shutterstock

The Department of Justice filed a letter with a federal appeals court on Thanksgiving Day, offering rationales for why the court should uphold a gag order against former President Donald Trump.

District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the federal election case against Trump, had placed a gag order on the current Republican presidential frontrunner. However, the order was lifted temporarily for the Court of Appeals to consider constitutional issues around the order.

Trump has taken to his social media platform Truth Social several times in the past week to forcefully argue that the gag orders were improper, citing in one post comments made by political pundit and former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy.

Trump quoted McCarthy’s article in National Review: “Judge Chutkan’s limited gag order should be invalidated on appeal. She not only fails to weigh the administration of justice against other equal or greater constitutional concerns, [but] her stated rationale evinces no appreciation of a duty to engage in such a weighing. Trump has a right to attack the prosecution and the court — as a defense at trial, as a response to prejudicial statements made by the prosecutor and the judge, and as protected political speech in a campaign in which President Biden, Trump’s top rival, on whom there are no speech restrictions, stands to be the chief beneficiary of a prosecution brought by the Biden Justice Department.”

Robert Gouveia, a lawyer posting on X, noted that amicus briefs have been filed by over a dozen state attorneys general in support of overturning Judge Chutkan’s gag order.

In the Thanksgiving filing, the DOJ referred the appeals court to documents from Trump’s civil fraud case in New York, where Trump is challenging another gag order, per Newsweek. Specifically, the prosecution highlighted the claim that “hundreds of threatening and harassing voicemail messages” have been sent to the judge presiding over that case, Arthur Engoron, and the judge’s law clerk, Allison Greenfield.

Charles Hollon, who works in the New York Public Safety Department’s Judicial Threats Assessment Unit, claims in an affidavit, “The implementation of the limited gag orders resulted in a decrease in the number of threats, harassment, and disparaging messages that the judge and his staff received. However, when Mr. Trump violated the gag orders, the number of threatening, harassing, and disparaging messages increased.”

The D.C. appeals court asked the DOJ to provide evidence of “ongoing threats and harassment” as it makes its case for maintaining the gag order.

President Trump’s lawyers are fighting multiple gag orders, arguing that they violate Trump’s First Amendment rights. On Friday, the former president’s legal team responded to the Thanksgiving filing in a letter to the court, per Politico. In the response, the Trump team called the alleged threats in the New York case “irrelevant.”

“The letter is an impermissible attempt to supplement the record on appeal with irrelevant information that could have been, but was not, submitted to the district court below,” the letter states.

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