West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is speaking out against "improper motives" behind Donald Trump's gag order in his Washington criminal trial, days before an appeals court is set to consider the former president's challenge.
Morrisey filed an amicus brief joined by 18 Republican-led states this week and called for a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to strike down the gag order imposed on Trump in the criminal case alleging he conspired to overturn his 2020 election defeat. West Virginia's attorney general told the Washington Examiner that "it's important for the court to draw a line and not have a chilling effect against the next Republican nominee for president."
"All of these efforts have been borne by really, I think, improper motives," Morrisey said. "The best way to address it is to eliminate the gag order [and] have something very narrow in place. I think it's really important that there's a focus on the chilling aspect of the speech and that folks push back on that."
Special counsel Jack Smith requested a gag order in September, aiming to rein in Trump's verbal attacks against prosecutors like himself, court staff, and potential witnesses involved in the case. Following the courtroom arguments on Oct. 16, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan largely sided with Smith by imposing the gag order on Trump, who has since appealed, and the D.C. Court of Appeals has temporarily paused the order.