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Trump gag order issued by NY judge

Former President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a "Save America" rally at Country Thunder Arizona in Florence, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
March 27, 2024

New York Judge Juan Merchan issued a gag order against former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, preventing Trump from making public statements about prosecutors, witnesses, and jurors in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s criminal case, which claims that the former president falsified business records regarding payments made to Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Trump previously pleaded “not guilty” to 34 counts brought against the former president by the Manhattan district attorney. Trump has also denied having any relationship with Daniels.

With jury selection for the trial scheduled to take place in New York City on April 15, Merchan announced Tuesday that the former president will not be allowed to issue public statements against witnesses, such as Cohen, who will be testifying against Trump. The gag order also prevents Trump from making statements against any counsel in the trial besides Bragg, any of the district attorney’s staff, any court staff, and any jurors.

The New York judge claimed that Trump’s prior statements regarding individuals in Bragg’s case “were threatening, inflammatory, denigrating,” and presented “a sufficient risk to the administration of justice.”

“The consequences of those statements included not only fear on the part of the individual targeted, but also the assignment of increased security resources to investigate threats and protect the individuals and family members thereof,” Merchan wrote.

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The New York judge claimed Trump’s “inflammatory extrajudicial statements” could threaten the “orderly administration” of the court. As a result, Merchan said the “immanency of the risk of harm is now paramount.”

According to The Daily Wire, while Trump had attempted to delay the start of the New York trial, Merchan, who donated to President Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020, rejected the former president’s arguments to delay the trial on Monday.

Following the New York judge’s gag order announcement on Tuesday, Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesman, told Fox News that Merchan’s gag order was “unconstitutional” and warned that the order prevents the “leading candidate” in the 2024 presidential polls from “engaging in core political speech,” which Cheung said was protected under the First Amendment.

“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, at the direction of Crooked Joe Biden, chose to indict President Trump in the middle of campaign season in a politically motivated attempt to derail his candidacy, and the First Amendment allows President Trump to speak out against this unconstitutional tyranny,” Cheung said. “Worst of all, the gag order violates the civil rights of over 100 million Americans who follow President Trump and have a First Amendment right to receive and listen to his speech.”