CNN’s senior legal analyst Elie Honig said that former President Donald Trump’s claim that he has a heightened First Amendment right as a candidate is accurate.
District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan issued a gag order in October that blocks the former president from making public statements targeting Special Counsel Jack Smith or his staff, the defense counsel or their staff along with court staff and “any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of their testimony.” An appeals court paused the order in early November pending Trump’s appeal.
Meanwhile, a New York appeals judge temporarily lifted the gag order on Trump in his civil fraud case citing free speech concerns.
Honig first spoke of the two gag orders placed on Trump, arguing both are narrowly tailored and will likely be upheld on appeal.
“And one of the things we’ve seen Trump arguing is that he has a constitutional right to defend himself of sorts, really quickly before we go, where is the line between being a defendant and actually being a candidate who’s running for president?” (RELATED: ‘I Really Want An Answer’: Judges Spar With Trump Lawyer Opposing Gag Order)
“Yeah, so, Trump isn’t saying that – and back to the gag orders here – he’s saying, ‘Well because I am running for president, I sort of have an extra right to political speech,’ and the Constitution does give highest priority to what we call political speech, whether it is people protesting at the Supreme Court, protesting in Congress and candidates themselves, I actually think he’s right that as a candidate, and this applies to any candidate, not just Donald Trump, but you do have a heightened First Amendment right, but still I think the gag orders, both of them that we’ve been talking about, are narrow enough that they still respect the right,” Honig said in response to the question.
Honig also briefly spoke about the legal challenges based on the 14th Amendment to remove Trump from the ballot, saying that those mounting the challenges should give up because he believes they will not win.