At a rally in Clive, Iowa on Monday, former President Donald Trump generated attention when responding to a partial gag order issued by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan earlier that day at the request of Special Counsel Jack Smith.
The order was placed due to Smith’s team claiming that Trump’s statements on social media or elsewhere posed a risk to court staff, the court itself, and federal officers associated with the trial.
They further asserted that Trump was attempting to influence potential jurors prior to his trial.
Judge Chutkan cited First Amendment protections during her ruling and proclaimed: “His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify … public servants who are simply doing their job.”
Despite this, Trump appeared unwavering in his stance while at the rally and even vowed to go as far as jail time in an effort to express himself freely regarding his legal proceedings for 2024 campaign cycle preparations.
“They’re getting beaten very badly by me in the polls. They think the only way they can catch me is to stop me from speaking, they want to take away my voice. A judge gave a gag order today. Did you hear that? On speech. Which I believe is totally unconstitutional, what she did,” Trump said at one point, according to a video posted by RSBN to the X platform.
“A judge gave a gag order. A judge doesn’t like me too much. Her whole life is not liking me,” he continued.
“She gave me a gag order. Do you know what a gag order is? You can’t speak badly about your opponent,” he continued. “But this is weaponry all being done because Joe Biden is losing the election. And losing very, very badly to all of us in the polls.”
Trump then made this vow: “But what they don’t understand is that I am willing to go to jail if that’s what it takes for our country to win and to become a democracy again.”
Given the ex-president’s recent use of social media as a weapon of intimidation during his New York civil fraud trial last week, it is unclear how jailing him would be practically implemented in light of his entitlement to Secret Service protection 24/7 by law.
“Given that the defendant—after apparently reviewing opposition research on court staff—chose to use social media to publicly attack a court staffer, there is cause for concern about what he may do with social media research on potential jurors in this case,” Smith wrote in the motion.
Smith wrote that protections for prospective jurors are necessary for a number of reasons, but “chief among them is the defendant’s continued use of social media as a weapon of intimidation in court proceedings.”
Smith recently urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to implement reasonable and standard restrictions in order to limit the ability of parties involved in a case to conduct research on potential jurors during jury selection and trial, as well as to use juror research.
Furthermore, he requested strict enforcement of standard practices designed to shield juror identities from public knowledge.
This comes after his attempt to implicate another Republican in his investigation regarding the Capitol riot was thwarted.
The Court ruled that granting Smith access to Rep. Scott Perry’s (R-Pa.) phone records would be a breach of Perry’s immunity under the Constitution’s “speech and debate” clause.