The states that signed onto the court filing include Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
In a press release, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey argues that the gag order imposed on Trump is a "blatant violation of the First Amendment" that prevents Trump's "ability to speak freely ahead of the approaching presidential election and denies Americans the right to hear free, fair and open debate from all presidential candidates."
"Missouri is a champion for free speech. President Trump, like so many Americans, has been silenced on social media platforms for daring to be a political opponent of Joe Biden, and now they're attempting to silence his right to speak at all," said AG Bailey. "This blatant weaponization of the criminal justice system is inherently un-American and goes against the very soul of our great nation. I'm proud to stand with President Trump in this new front in the war for free speech."
The group of attorney generals assert in the amicus brief that, "President Trump is actively campaigning for—is the leading Republican candidate for—the presidency. The district court's broad order interrupts President Trump's right to 'communicate with the electorate.' This case—the propriety of bringing it, the motives for doing so, and the process the Biden Administration continues to employ in pursuing it—is a central issue in his reelection campaign. And rather than protect President Trump's ability to discuss that issue on the campaign trail, the district court's prior restraint muzzles him."
The attorney generals call on the courts to reinstate President Trump's right to freedom of speech, writing that "Given the magnitude—in importance and effect—of such an overly broad and vague prior restraint on President Trump’s speech, this Court should reverse" the gag order.
In October, Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan issued a gag order on former President Donald Trump in the Jan. 6 conspiracy case.
Trump's legal team filed an appeal to the order, claiming First Amendment violations; however, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted a temporary stay on the order in November, ruling that, "Upon consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal, which includes requests for an administrative stay and to expedite the appeal, it is ordered that the district court’s October 17, 2023 order be administratively stayed pending further order of the court."
The order limits what Trump can say publicly about the conspiracy case leveled against him by political opponent Joe Biden's Department of Justice. The case, being tried by special prosecutor Jack Smith, alleges that Trump committed conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. Trump has pleaded not guilty.
The charges against Trump stem from the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
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