President Donald Trump opposes a request from Jack Smith, an attorney representing a suspect accused of participating in the January 6 Capitol siege, to impose a “narrowly tailored” gag order against the suspect, Richard Barnett. The request was made to the federal judge assigned to the case, Chief Judge Beryl Howell, at a hearing on April 30.
Trump’s legal team released a court filing on May 3 stating that they are “vehemently opposed” to the motion, which they argue would be unconstitutional and an inappropriate response to Barnett’s activities. The filing also notes that Barnett’s views are not endorsed by Trump or his legal team, adding that the request for a gag order would be a “dangerous violation of the First Amendment.”
Trump’s legal team argues that the request for a gag order could set a dangerous precedent, as it would limit the ability of those accused of similar crimes to express their views. They also note that if the gag order were granted, it would contravene the precedent established by the Supreme Court when it affirmed the First Amendment rights of people to express their opinions without fear of state intervention.
Trump’s legal team further argues that the order would be unnecessary, as they have no control over Barnett’s ability to express his views in public. They believe that Barnett will have to answer for his alleged criminal activity in court regardless of his public statements.
Judge Howell has not yet ruled on the motion, and it is unclear when a ruling will be issued.