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Feds Reassert Need For Trump Gag Order, But
Even If Gag Order is Granted, Threats to Jurors and Others Remain
They cite Trump's statement that Gen. Mark Milley, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, had committed treason and that, in the past, he might have faced execution.
The filing also maintained that "The defendant is publicly maligning witnesses and very intentionally commenting on the specific topics of their potential testimony at trial. . . From the defendant's statements, potential jurors may form improper views about various witnesses' reputations, veracity, or what they will say at trial. The Court can and should prevent such improper dissemination of information about the substance of this case."
But even if U.S. Judge Tanya Chutkan grants without any changes the original motion seeking what has been described as a narrowly tailored gag order, it will still contain a hole big enough to drive a truck through, and there may be nothing the court can do about it, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
Thus even if Trump himself does not defy the proposed order once it was issued, many of his supporters - including members of Congress, talk show hosts, members of PACs, and other organizations - can still do exactly what is prohibited by the order.
Moreover, there is nothing in the order which would prevent Trump himself from imploring those who believe in him and in his innocence from doing exactly what the order is designed to prohibit: making "statements regarding the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses" or "statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory, or intimidating."
Professor Banzhaf filed the formal legal complaint which led to the investigation and indictment of Trump in Georgia.
Therefore, the law professor notes that anyone would still be free to talk about the identity, testimony, or credibility of prospective witnesses, and/or to make statements about any party, witness, attorney, court personnel, or potential jurors that are disparaging and inflammatory or intimidating;
So the irony is that if the motion is granted and the gag order issued - and if Trump, rather than defying it, simply asks his supporters with huge followings to repeat his claims - more people are likely to accept the claims coming from many different supposedly-reliable sources rather than any such claim coming from Trump himself.