New York's highest court leaves Trump gag order in place as Dems exploit verdict

 June 19, 2024

The top appeals court in New York has dismissed Donald Trump's request to lift the gag order in his "hush money" trial, despite escalating political rhetoric from Democrats describing Trump as a "convicted felon."

Trump's lawyers said the gag order is not necessary because the trial is over, and the continued restrictions interfere with Trump's free speech at the height of his presidential campaign.

"The defense does not concede that there was ever a valid basis for the gag order and reserves the right to challenge the irreparable First Amendment harms caused by the order," Trump's lawyer Todd Blanche wrote.

Court leaves gag order

The New York Appeals Court declined to intervene, finding that Trump had not presented a "substantial constitutional question."

The trial judge, Juan Merchan, has yet to rule on Trump's request to lift the order, which Merchan imposed before the trial began.

Merchan fined Trump $10,000 for breaking the order during the trial and even threatened to put him in jail.

The order bars Trump from commenting on prosecutors, court staff, and their families, as well as witnesses like Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen, who have continued to attack Trump since the trial ended.

Trump may comment on Merchan himself and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), but the gag order prohibits comments on Matthew Colangelo, a former Biden DOJ prosecutor who left Washington to work on Bragg's case, and Merchan's daughter, who came under scrutiny for work with prominent Democrats including Adam Schiff (D-Ca.).

Dems escalate rhetoric

During a recent hearing, Schiff read out the words "guilty" 34 times, an allusion to Trump's conviction on 34 felony counts of "falsifying business records."

The Biden campaign has purchased ads attacking Trump as a "convicted criminal" ahead of the first presidential debate on June 27.

Trump's lawyer Todd Blanche argued that Trump's constitutional argument is "even stronger" in light of the approaching debate and Biden's escalating campaign rhetoric. But the appeals court was unmoved, leaving the gag order in place ahead of Trump's July 11 sentencing.

"President Trump and his legal team will continue to fight against the unconstitutional Gag Order imposed by Justice Merchan," Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said.

"The Gag Order wrongfully silences the leading candidate for President of the United States, President Trump, at the height of his campaign."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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