Judge orders gag order on Trump in New York “hush money” case
Judge orders gag order on Trump in New York “hush money” case

The judge overseeing the criminal case against former President Donald Trump in New York imposed a gag order on Tuesday limiting what Trump can say about participants in the upcoming trial, which revolves around payment of “hush money”. made of adult movie star in 2016

Judge Juan Murchan issued an order restricting Trump’s public statements in response to a A request in February by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Braggwhose office listed a series of statements Trump made on multiple occasions when making the request.

Murchan said the examples “go far beyond his defense against ‘attacks’ by ‘public figures.’ He described Trump’s statements as “threatening, inflammatory, defamatory,” with the targets of his statements either attributed to the cases or performing their civic duty.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at 40 Wall Street on March 25, 2024 in New York.

Michael M Santiago/GettyImages/Getty Images

Bragg’s office cited statements Trump made during another case in New York, a civil fraud trial that recently ended in a $464 million verdict against him and other defendants. During that trial, Trump publicly attacked a key witness in both cases and was subject to a libel order for defaming the judge’s clerk.

“The consequences of these statements include not only fear on the part of the targeted individual, but also the deployment of increased security resources to investigate threats and protect the individuals and their family members,” Murchan wrote.

The order prohibits Trump from commenting or causing others to comment on potential witnesses in the case, prospective jurors, court officials, attorneys in the district attorney’s office, and the relatives of any attorney or court personnel. He is allowed to criticize Bragg himself, as well as Murchan. The case is scheduled for trial on April 15.

Trump mentioned Murchan’s grown daughter in a social media post Tuesday morning, denouncing her work for a Democratic consulting firm. Trump’s lawyers argued in 2023 that Murchan should recuse himself from the case, which Murchan rejected.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records related to a $130,000 reimbursement payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the days leading up to the 2016 election. Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump years earlier and has agreed to sell the rights to her story in exchange for the payment. The former president has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty, claiming the prosecution was part of a politically motivated effort to prevent him from winning the presidency in November.

Murchan stressed the urgency of imposing the gag order before the trial begins, citing a pattern of threats and intimidation that has accompanied other Trump cases. He noted how the “nature and impact” of Trump’s statements regarding his federal election interference lawsuit in Washington, D.C., prompted the judge in that case to issue a similar gag order. Murchan wrote that such prior statements establish “a sufficient risk to the administration of justice.”

“Given that the eve of trial is upon us, it is undisputed that the imminent risk of injury is now paramount,” the judge wrote.

The order limits what Trump can say about some of his most frequent targets. His former “fixer” and lawyer Michael Cohen is a key witness in the case and a fierce critic of Trump. The former president called him a “scumbag.” Trump now risks violating the order if he makes similar insults to Cohen on the eve of the trial.

Cohen thanked the judge for imposing the order, telling CBS News that he had been “under relentless attack from Donald’s MAGA supporters,” while predicting that Trump “will try to defy the gag order by hiring others in his circle to do his bidding; regardless of consequence.”

Trump is also barred from publicly commenting on other attorneys in the case besides Bragg. Speaking to reporters after a hearing on the case on Monday, Trump called one Bragg attorney, Matthew Colangelo, a “radical.” Trump has frequently referenced Colangelo’s previous work for the Department of Justice in his social media posts.

A spokesman for Bragg declined to comment. A spokesman for Trump’s presidential campaign said the order “violates the civil rights of more than 100 million Americans who follow President Trump.”

“Judge Murchan’s unconstitutional order prevents President Trump — the leading candidate for President of the United States — from engaging in major political speech entitled to the highest level of protection under the First Amendment,” Cheung said.

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