24 States File Brief Claiming Gag Order in Trump's Florida Trial is 'Wrong and Unconstitutional'

24 States File Brief Claiming Gag Order in Trump's Florida Trial is 'Wrong and Unconstitutional'

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
June 17, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is leading 23 other states in accusing special counsel Jack Smith of trying to impose an "unlawful" gag order on Donald Trump during his classified documents case in Florida—where he faces 40 felony counts.

"Once again, we are witnessing a prosecutor seek to keep the presumptive Republican nominee for President from speaking in the midst of an election," Moody said in a statement. She referenced Trump's New York trial, in which District Attorney Alvin Bragg successfully pushed for a gag order that Trump called "unconstitutional" and violated ten times.

He was later convicted of all 34 felonies, though his supporters call the trial a "sham".

"The First Amendment, at its core, is designed to protect political speech, and I along with my colleagues will not stand idly by and watch the Biden administration trample the free speech of a Florida citizen," Moody continued.

Along with 23 other state attorneys general, Moody filed an amicus brief alleging that the proposed gag order is "not only wrong but also unconstitutional," as lead prosecutor Smith will curtail Trump's "protected speech" and would prevent him from "speaking out against the...criminal trial process that seeks to take away his liberty."

This is the second gag order attempted by prosecutors—the first ask was thrown out by Federal Judge Aileen Cannon who said that they had not fully conferred with Trump's attorneys before filing the request, CNN reported.

Originally scheduled for May 20th, Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely, explaining that hosting the case before answering "unresolved questions" over trial evidence would be "imprudent". Though Smith has asked for the trial to be moved to July 8th, it appears unlikely it will take place before the November elections.

This would be Trump's second trial of four indictments, though a verdict has only been returned in his Manhattan hush money trial. Taking place at the U.S. district court in Fort Pierce, Trump is charged with 40 felony counts for allegedly illegally keeping, storing, and concealing classified documents from the White House in his Mar-a-Lago home.

In 2022, the FBI searched the Palm Beach resort as part of the investigation that led to Trump's June 8th indictment. Trump, for his part, erroneously claimed that President Biden authorized the FBI to use "deadly force" against him in their search of his estate—though he was not at Mar-a-Lago during the federal sweep.

Trump is still awaiting a verdict in a 2020 election interference case in D.C. where he is charged with four felonies (a ruling is expected this month) and is awaiting a trial date to be set for a state indictment in a 2020 election interference case in Fulton County, Georgia. He was originally charged with 13 felony counts, though in March a judge struck three of those counts.

Felony tally: Trump was originally charged with 91 felonies across the four separate trials. So far, he has been found guilty of 34, while three have been quashed, meaning verdicts on 54 are still pending.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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