A federal appeals court on Tuesday stopped a Chicago trial judge from pursuing any civil contempt sanctions against ranking officials at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, but the agency itself still faces an inquiry into whether certain public statements violated the terms of a $16 million settlement with two major food producers.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned an order compelling three Senate confirmed leaders—Chairman Heath Tarbert, a Republican, and Democratic Commissioners Dan Berkovitz and Rostin Behnam—to appear in court and testify about remarks they made about the settlement, despite a gag provision that limited what the commission could say publicly. The court said the trial judge can still assess whether the CFTC itself should be held in contempt.
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