Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, is accused of shooting two Fulton County sheriff's deputies in March, killing one, as they tried to serve him with an arrest warrant.
Superior Court Judge Stephanie Manis had barred everyone involved with the case from discussing it publicly, saying she wanted to prevent pretrial publicity from influencing potential jurors.
Manis on Tuesday rejected the request by Al-Amin's lawyers to lift the gag order immediately. But she said she would review other court decisions about a defendant's right to free speech and rule in two to four weeks.
"He has the right to say, 'I'm innocent; I deny the charges against me,'" argued Jack Martin, Al-Amin's lead defense lawyer. "He has the right to describe and explain his political and religious beliefs."
Al-Amin, who ran a Muslim mosque in Atlanta's West End neighborhood, was a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and, for a short time, a member of the Black Panthers.
The arrest warrant accused him of impersonating a police officer and receiving a stolen car. In his only statement about the case, Al-Amin said the murder charge brought against him was a government conspiracy.