Donald Trump successfully put off testifying in the E. Jean Carroll case until after the New Hampshire primary, thanks to a conveniently-timed sick juror. But he still managed to get his ass kicked in court, thanks to the DC Circuit.
In the nation’s capital, the former president sought review of a gag order originally issued in October in the election interference prosecution. In that order, Judge Tanya Chutkan barred Trump from making public statements which “target” the Special Counsel or his staff, court staff, or any witnesses in the case. Trump’s appeal attracted supportive amicus briefs from the Christian Family Coalition, the America First Legal Foundation, and the Attorneys General of Iowa, West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.
But it was not to be. After a tumultuous hearing in November, Judges Millet, Pillard, and Garcia narrowed the order to allow Trump to attack Special Counsel Jack Smith personally, as well as tightening up the term “target.” But otherwise, they let it stand, rejecting Trump’s argument that he’s allowed to endanger court staff and witnesses because he’s running for president.
Naturally, Trump requested en banc review, hoping to extract another administrative stay pending rehearing. But that gambit failed as well, with the court issuing a one-sentence brush-off this morning.
“Upon consideration of appellant’s petition for rehearing en banc, the response thereto, and the absence of a request by any member of the court for a vote, it is ORDERED that the petition be denied,” read the per curiam order.
Not even Trump’s own appointees, Judges Katsas, Rao, and Walker, wanted a piece of this stinker. Presumably they’re keeping their powder dry for his magical immunity appeal, if and when Judges Henderson, Childs, and Pan ever get finished writing an opinion and boot him back to the trial court.
In the meantime, Trump will undoubtedly appeal the gag order to the Supreme Court, if only to try his hand at wangling another administrative stay so he can threaten Mark Meadows some more.
When you’re a star, they let you do it.
US v. Trump [Circuit Docket via Court Listener]
US v. Trump [District Docket via Court Listener]
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes the Law and Chaos substack and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.