Judge in Hush Money Case Issues Gag Order for Donald Trump

Judge in Hush Money Case Issues Gag Order for Donald Trump

(USNewsBreak.com) – Former President Donald Trump’s hush-money trial will begin on April 15. He’s facing charges of falsifying business reports to cover up payments he made to reimburse his former attorney, Michael Cohen, for allegedly paying off adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. A judge recently issued a gag order against Trump in the case.

Judge Juan Merchan issued the non-dissemination order on Tuesday, March 26. The four-page ruling prohibits the former president from publicly disparaging or attacking jurors, witnesses, court staff, and others associated with the case. It does not prevent him from doing the same to District Attorney Alvin Bragg — though it does cover other prosecutors — and Judge Merchan himself.

In the ruling, Merchan pointed out that Trump’s “prior extrajudicial statements” have caused harm, and he has displayed a pattern of similar behavior. The former president directed some of that at Judge Arthur Engoron, who oversaw the civil business fraud case. Engoron’s wife and son also received backlash from Trump’s remarks.

The day after Merchan issued the order, Trump called the move “illegal, un-American, unConstitutional [SIC]” in a social media post. He also claimed the judge was indulging his daughter’s interests — she’s a Democratic political consultant — and insisted he recuse himself from the case.

Trump accused Loren Merchan of posting a photo depicting him behind bars, a claim the court denied. AP News reported that according to court spokesperson Al Baker, the account that posted the image has not belonged to Ms. Merchan for more than a year and was a “manipulation of an account she long ago abandoned.”

This was the third gag order handed down to Trump in three separate cases. Judges have slapped him with fines totaling $15,000 for violations.

A spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, Steven Cheung, called the order a violation of the First Amendment, preventing Trump from “engaging in core political speech.” He elaborated further, adding, “American voters have a fundamental right” to hear Trump’s voice, according to The Hill.

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