Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Trump gag order challenge denied

Former President Donald Trump at Manhattan Supreme Court on Oct. 24, 2023, during his civil fraud trial. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/TNS)
May 14, 2024

Former President Donald Trump’s motion to challenge New York Judge Juan Merchan’s gag order was denied by a New York appeals court on Tuesday. The appeals court’s ruling comes as the fifth week of Trump’s hush-money trial continues.

Announcing its decision to reject Trump’s motion, the New York appeals court wrote, “We find that Justice Merchan properly weighed petitioner’s First Amendment Rights against the court’s historical commitment to ensuring the fair administration of justice in criminal cases, and the right of persons related or tangentially related to the criminal proceedings from being free from threats, intimidation, harassment, and harm.”

According to The Daily Wire, the former president has already been fined a total of 10 times by Merchan over the gag order in the hush-money trial that prohibits Trump from talking about or releasing statements on social media about jurors, court staff, attorneys, and Merchan’s family.

While Trump and his legal team have argued that the gag order infringes on his First Amendment right to free speech, Merchan has claimed that the former president’s statements need to be limited to prevent any witnesses from becoming intimidated throughout the trial.

Addressing the gag order controversy, the appeals court stated, “Justice Merchan properly determined that petitioner’s public statements posed a significant threat to the integrity of the testimony of witnesses and potential witnesses in this case as well.”

READ MORE: Trump classified documents case indefinitely postponed

Merchan’s gag order pertains to Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against Trump, which claims that Trump authorized hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, during the 2016 presidential campaign. The Daily Wire reported that Merchan threatened last week that he would “consider a jail sentence” if the former president continues to violate the gag order.

“The last thing I want to consider is jail,” Merchan stated, according to Fox News. “You are [the] former president and possibly the next president.”

Merchan added that the “magnitude” of the decision to potentially sentence Trump to prison is “not lost” on him. However, he argued that the former president’s “continued willful violation” of the gag order represents a “direct attack” and would “not be allowed to continue.”

Following Merchan’s threat to consider incarcerating him, Trump told reporters, “I have to watch every word I tell you people. You ask me a question, a simple question, I’d like to give it, but I can’t talk about it because this judge is giving me a gag order and said you’ll go to jail if you violate it.”

Trump added, “And frankly, you know what, our Constitution is much more important than jail. It’s not even close. I’ll do that sacrifice any day.”