President Donald Trump may have his unprecedented “gag order” loosened as appeals court judges weigh his case.
The gag order against President Trump in a federal “election interference” case is being weighed by a three-judge panel.
The judges will rule on the order after they heard arguments Monday in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.
During the two-and-a-half hours of arguments, the appeals court judges appeared skeptical of both sides.
They heard arguments on whether to reinstate the order.
The gag order was issued by a trial judge who claims to be seeking to prevent Trump from making inflammatory comments against prosecutors, potential witnesses, and court staff.
A lawyer with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office, Cecil VanDevender, argued that a gag order is necessary.
VanDevender insists that the order will prevent “intimidation” and “threats” against participants in the case.
Smith’s case accuses Trump of scheming to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump lawyer John Sauer, meanwhile, urged the court to revoke the order.
The court did not immediately rule.
However, the outcome of Monday’s arguments will set parameters on what Trump, as a criminal defendant, can and cannot say as the trial date nears.
The order also has a negative impact on Trump’s campaign as the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination
The judges hearing the case include Cornelia Pillard and Patricia Millett.
Both judges were appointees of former President Barack Obama.
Judge Brad Garcia, who joined the bench earlier this year, was nominated by Democrat President Joe Biden.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan first imposed the partial gag order on October 17.
The order blocks Trump from making statements targeting Smith, his staff, witnesses, and court personnel.
The order was later put on hold pending a previous appeal from the 45th president before being reinstated by Chutkan on Oct. 29.
The order does not prevent Trump from airing general complaints about the case, however.
Chutkan insists that Trump is still allowed to assert his claims of innocence and that the case is politically motivated.
Trump has continued to deny any wrongdoing in the case.
He has argued that it is part of an effort to prevent him from winning the presidency in 2024.
He has also sharply criticized those involved in the case, including Smith, whom he often refers to as “deranged.”