‘Bulldoze the First Amendment’: Jonathan Turley slams attempts to silence Trump with gag order during election cycle

Daily Caller News Foundation

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley blasted special counsel Jack Smith’s effort to silence former President Donald Trump Monday.

Trump entered a not guilty plea to all charges during his Thursday arraignment on all four counts in an indictment relating to his efforts to contest the results of the 2020 election secured by special counsel Jack Smith. Smith sought a protective order Friday, claiming that when Trump posted on social media “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” he was threatening witnesses.


“This motion is tone-deaf. I don’t agree with what the president has been posting,” Turley told Fox News host Jesse Watters. “I think that posting you noted was ill-advised, it could not have come at a worse time, but I think there is a point here that if you are going to try the leading Republican candidate during the presidential election, he will have to be able to talk about this case.”

Legal experts noted that much of the conduct Smith described in the indictment appeared to be protected by the First Amendment. Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz said that the indictment not only attacked  Trump’s First Amendment rights, but also Trump’s right to counsel protected by the Sixth Amendment.

“This case is a First Amendment case, it is a free speech case. I disagree with my friend Bill Barr on that,” Turley said. “I respect him, but I think that this is a case that could really bulldoze the First Amendment, and to add secrecy, protective orders to that is only going to magnify the problem.”

“You can’t have a free speech case that you’re not allowed to talk about. That’s not gonna let voters understand that things are above level,” Watters responded.

Trump’s top rivals for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, all condemned the indictment.

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