A Judge Orders Donald Trump Not To Talk About Witnesses Or Other People Involved In The Hush Money Case


A judge in New York said on Tuesday that Donald Trump cannot publicly talk about witnesses, prosecutors, court staff, or jurors in his upcoming hush-money criminal trial. The judge said this because the former president has a history of making “threatening, inflammatory, and degrading” comments about people involved in his legal cases.

Judge Juan M. Merchan’s decision, which was similar to a gag order in Trump’s election interference case in Washington, D.C., came the day after he turned down the defense’s request to delay the Manhattan hearing until the summer and set it to start on April 15. If the date stays the same, it will be the first time a past president is tried for a crime.

As the trial date approached, Merchan wrote in a four-page ruling that the imminence of the risk of harm was now the most important thing. He agreed to what the prosecution called a “narrowly tailored” gag order.

The judge said that the likely Republican presidential nominee’s comments have caused fear and that more security measures need to be put in place to protect his targets and look into threats.

Trump’s lawyers fought against a gag order, saying it would violate his right to free speech and be against the law. Merchan had been against putting a gag order in place for a long time, but he said that his duty to protect the trial’s integrity was more important than First Amendment worries.

Politicians who don’t like Trump have and will continue to attack him because of this case, Trump’s lawyers Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles said in a recent court document. Not just one side of the argument, but all of President Trump’s responses to those attacks should be heard by the voters.

The gag order says that Trump can’t say anything about possible witnesses and jurors in the hush-money trial in public, and he also can’t tell other people to do so. It also doesn’t allow any comments that are meant to bother or annoy the court staff, the defense team, or their families.

After Merchan’s trial last year, Trump called him “a Trump-hating judge” with a family full of “Trump haters.” However, it does not stop people from talking about elected Democrat Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. But it tells Trump that attacks on important people in the case, like Michael Cohen, his former lawyer who is now his enemy, or Stormy Daniels, a porn star, will not be accepted.

If Trump breaks the law, he could be found in contempt of court, fined, or even put in jail.

Cohen, an important witness for the prosecution against Trump, said, “I want to thank Judge Merchan for putting the gag order in place because I have been under constant attack from Donald’s MAGA supporters.” “However, because I know Donald so well, he will try to break the gag order by getting people in his circle to do what he wants, no matter what.

Blanche refused to say anything. Bragg’s office also wouldn’t say anything. A message was left for Trump’s team asking for a response.

The gag order adds to the rules that already say Trump can’t use information from the case to attack witnesses.

There are claims that Trump lied about payments to Cohen, who was his lawyer at the time, and said they were legal fees on his company’s books, but they were really for Cohen’s work during the 2016 campaign to hide bad news about Trump. That included the $130,000 he paid Daniels on Trump’s behalf so she wouldn’t talk about her claim that she had a sexual encounter with him years ago.

In April of last year, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records. This is a felony that can get you up to four years in prison, but a finding does not always mean jail time. He says he didn’t have sex with Daniels, and his lawyers say the money he paid Cohen was for legal fees and not as part of a plot to hide something.

At Trump’s hearing, Merchan told him not to say anything that could lead to violence or put people in danger, but he didn’t actually silence him. Merchan talked about Trump’s “special” status as a former president and current candidate at a later hearing. He said, “I’m bending over backward and straining to make sure that he is given every opportunity possible to advance his candidacy and to be able to speak in favor of his candidacy.”

Trump has yelled many times about the hush-money case. On social media, he talked about “potential death and destruction” before he was charged last year. He also posted a picture of himself holding a baseball bat next to a picture of Bragg. Among other things, he has called Cohen a “convicted felon, disbarred lawyer, with zero credibility” and called Daniels a mean name.

Trump has been put on notice by yet another judge, Merchant.

In December, a federal appeals court panel mostly supported Trump’s gag order in his election interference case in Washington, D.C., but they did make it less strict by letting him criticize special counsel Jack Smith, who brought the case. This decision was repeated by the New York gag order, which did not include Bragg.

Trump was fined $15,000 at the fraud trial for twice breaking a gag order that was put in place after he made a bad social media post about the judge’s chief law clerk.

During a civil hearing in January, writer E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation, and a federal judge said Trump would be kicked out of court if he said anything like “it is a witch hunt” or “it is a con job.”

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