Judge reinstates gag order in Trump federal election case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A federal judge on Sunday reinstated a gag order she imposed on Donald Trump in the Washington case accusing him of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat, denying his bid for a stay pending appeal.

The order prohibited Trump from targeting the special counsel prosecuting his case or witnesses who might be called to testify about his efforts to upend his election loss.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed the gag order at the Justice Department’s request. She temporarily lifted it on Oct. 20 after Trump’s lawyers appealed. She reversed that decision on Sunday evening, according to the court’s docket.

A copy of the judge’s written decision reinstating the gag order was not immediately available.

“The Corrupt Biden Administration just took away my First Amendment Right To Free Speech,” Trump said late Sunday in a post on Truth Social. “NOT CONSTITUTIONAL!”

Trump in the past has called Special Counsel Jack Smith a “deranged lunatic” and a “thug,” among other insults. Trump is facing four criminal cases and has made disparaging comments about prosecutors in each of them, as well as against the New York state attorney general who brought civil fraud charges against him.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges that he plotted to interfere unlawfully in the counting of votes and block the congressional certification of his 2020 loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

(Reporting by Brad Heath and Dan Whitcomb, editing by Michelle Nichols, Diane Craft and Gerry Doyle)