NY Judge imposes 'gag order' limiting Trump's speech in 'hush money' criminal trial

 March 27, 2024

The judge presiding over former President Donald Trump's impending criminal "hush money" trial in New York just imposed a partial "gag order" to limit Trump's freedom of speech, according to Breitbart.

On Tuesday, at the request of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office, and over the opposition of the former president's attorneys, Judge Juan Merchan issued an order "restricting extrajudicial statements" from Trump for the duration of the trial that is set to begin on April 15.

The order limiting Trump's statements looks to be rather wide-ranging to cover virtually all possible participants in the trial and then some, albeit with two notable exceptions in that the order doesn't appear to apply to statements he might make against DA Bragg or Judge Merchan themselves.

Judge issues order "restricting extrajudicial statements" from Trump

In his four-page order on Tuesday, Judge Merchan explained how prosecutors had requested the order "restricting extrajudicial statements" from former President Trump in late February, with Trump's attorneys filing their opposition about a week later in early March.

Prosecutors warned of Trump's habit of making statements that "were threatening, inflammatory, denigrating, and the targets of his statements ranged from local and federal officials, court and court staff, prosecutors and staff assigned to the cases, and private individuals including grand jurors performing their civic duty."

Those statements ostensibly led to "fear" for the targeted individuals and increased security costs both in protecting said targets and investigating threats from others, and prosecutors pointed to gag orders that have been imposed in other cases involving Trump that have been successful in limiting such "extrajudicial statements."

Trump's attorneys, meanwhile, argued that a gag order already in place to protect the anonymity of prospective jurors was sufficient and any further limitations on Trump's speech, particularly given his status as a leading presidential candidate, would violate his rights under the First Amendment -- an argument that found Merchan "unpersuaded."

No question that the "imminence of the risk of harm is now paramount"

"Although this Court did not issue an order restricting Defendant's speech at the inception of this case, choosing instead to issue an admonition," Judge Merchan wrote, "given the nature and impact of the statements made against this Court and a family member thereof, the District Attorney and an Assistant District Attorney, the witnesses in this case, as well as the nature and impact of the extrajudicial statements made by Defendant in the D.C. Circuit case (which resulted in the D.C. Circuit issuing an order restricting his speech), and given that the eve of trial is upon us, it is without question that the imminence of the risk of harm is now paramount."

With that statement, the judge was undoubtedly referring to former President Trump's critical comments, including just one day before the order, against his daughter, who is a Democratic Party operative who has been outspoken in her partisan opposition to Trump. The judge also referenced in a footnote how Trump had specifically called out a "radical left" prosecutor within DA Bragg's office as being sent from the DOJ to do the bidding of "Biden and his thugs."

In light of all of that, Merchan granted the prosecution's motion for a gag order that will require Trump to refrain from "Making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation in the investigation or in this criminal proceeding."

The order also restricts statements "about (1) counsel in the case other than the District Attorney, (2) members of the court's staff and the District Attorney's staff, or (3) the family members of any counsel or staff member," as well as "about any prospective juror or any juror in this criminal proceeding."

Trump responds with another riff against the judge's daughter

Former President Trump may have already violated that gag order with a series of Wednesday morning posts to Truth Social, the first of which stated, "Judge Juan Merchan, who is suffering from an acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome (whose daughter represents Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam 'Shifty' Schiff, and other Radical Liberals, has just posted a picture of me behind bars, her obvious goal, and makes it completely impossible for me to get a fair trial) has now issued another illegal, un-American, unConstitutional 'order,' as he continues to try and take away my Rights."

"This Judge, by issuing a vicious 'Gag Order,' is wrongfully attempting to deprive me of my First Amendment Right to speak out against the Weaponization of Law Enforcement, including the fact that Crooked Joe Biden, Merrick Garland, and their Hacks and Thugs are tracking and following me all across the Country, obsessively trying to persecute me, while everyone knows I have done nothing wrong!" he continued.

"So, let me get this straight, the Judge’s daughter is allowed to post pictures of her 'dream' of putting me in jail, the Manhattan D.A. is able to say whatever lies about me he wants, the Judge can violate our Laws and Constitution at every turn, but I am not allowed to talk about the attacks against me, and the Lunatics trying to destroy my life, and prevent me from winning the 2024 Presidential Election, which I am dominating?" Trump added in a follow-up post. "Maybe the Judge is such a hater because his daughter makes money by working to 'Get Trump,' and when he rules against me over and over again, he is making her company, and her, richer and richer. How can this be allowed?"

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