New York Court Has Rejected Trump's Appeal of a Gag Order in the "Hush Money" Trial

A court in New York has denied former President Donald Trump’s request to remove the restriction on what he can say about the people involved in his ongoing criminal trial. The court stated that the restriction does not violate Trump’s First Amendment rights.

Justice Juan Merchan, the judge in charge of Trump’s trial for 34 counts of falsifying business records, issued an order in March. This order prohibits Trump from talking about potential witnesses, jurors, lawyers, and court staff involved in the case. Merchan later extended it to include his daughter.

Trump was allowed to criticise Merchan and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. He has said that he did not commit any of the crimes he is accused of.

The appellate division, first department of the New York Supreme Court issued a ruling on Tuesday. They found that Merchan made the right decision in determining that Trump’s public statements were a serious threat to the credibility of witnesses and potential witnesses in this case. The ruling was five pages long.

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“According to the ruling, Justice Merchan considered both the petitioner’s First Amendment Rights and the court’s commitment to ensuring fair administration of justice in criminal cases. The ruling also mentioned the right of people related to the criminal proceedings to be protected from threats, intimidation, harassment, and harm.”

Merchan has found Trump in contempt of court for breaking the order 10 times. Last week, he told Trump that he might go to jail if he continues to break the law in the future.

Trump recently made comments about the political composition of the jury, which was a violation. In a written order on May 6, Merchan stated that Trump’s comments not only raised doubts about the fairness of the proceedings, but also caused concerns about the safety of the jurors and their loved ones.

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Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, requested in court last week for the gag order to be changed. This would allow Trump to publicly address the recent court proceedings, specifically the testimony given by Stormy Daniels. Daniels, an adult film star, was paid $130,000 in 2016 to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump, which he denies.

Merchan refused Blanche’s request, explaining that the order was put in place “due to the type of attacks and the intense criticism” from Trump. “Your client’s past performance is evidence enough,” Merchan said.

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