Manhattan Prosecutors Seek Gag Order on Former President Trump Ahead of Hush Money Trial

Manhattan prosecutors have filed a motion seeking a gag order on former President Donald Trump as his hush money criminal trial approaches. The move aims to protect jurors, witnesses, and other participants involved in the case. The requested restrictions on Trump’s speech mirror those imposed on him in his criminal case in Washington, D.C., and would limit his ability to make certain public comments during the trial, which is set to be the first-ever criminal trial of a former president.

If approved by Judge Juan Merchan, the gag order would prohibit Trump from making statements about court staff, their family members, prosecutors other than Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and any jurors. Prosecutors argue that such protections are necessary due to Trump’s history of making inflammatory remarks about participants in judicial proceedings against him, which they believe pose a significant threat to the orderly administration of the trial and could cause material prejudice.

Last spring, Bragg charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments made to his former fixer, Michael Cohen. The payments were intended to silence multiple women who alleged affairs with Trump, which he denies. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges. Since being charged, Trump has been under a protective order that prevents him from publicly disclosing materials received through discovery.

The request to restrict Trump’s speech represents a significant escalation just weeks before the trial is scheduled to begin on March 25. Trump’s legal team has previously criticized the gag orders imposed on him, arguing that they violate his First Amendment rights and hinder his ability to engage in core political speech, particularly as a presidential candidate.

In response to the gag order request, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung condemned it as an unconstitutional infringement on Trump’s rights and accused the prosecutors of election interference. Bragg’s office referenced previous gag orders in their motion, emphasizing the need for similar protections in this case, given its status as the first-ever criminal trial of a former president.

The motion filed by prosecutors included numerous examples of Trump’s posts on his social media platform, Truth Social, attacking Bragg, other prosecutors, and judges involved in his cases. Prosecutors argue that these attacks have had serious consequences for their targets, leading to threats, intimidation, and harassment. The commanding officer of Bragg’s security detail submitted an affidavit stating that threats against Bragg increased significantly following Trump’s indictment, with hundreds of phone calls and emails flagged for security review and two letters containing non-dangerous white powder sent to the district attorney’s office.

Alongside the gag order request, prosecutors also filed other final motions before the trial. They are seeking to prevent Trump’s lawyers from introducing evidence on certain topics, including Trump’s suggestion of selective prosecution and defenses that the judge has already rejected. Additionally, they want to block the introduction of Justice Department filings that could cast doubt on Cohen’s credibility, as he is expected to be a key witness in the hush money trial.

Author: CrimeDoor

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