April 12, 2024

Judge extends Donald Trump’s silence order after attacks on his family

A Manhattan judge extended the limited gag order imposed on former President Donald Trump over his upcoming hush money trial following a series of attacks on the judge and his family.

Judge Juan Merchan banned the former president from going after his relatives or those of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, saying Trump’s efforts “served no legitimate purpose.”

“It only instills fear in those assigned or called to participate in the proceedings that not only they, but also their family members are ‘fair game’ for the defendant’s vitriol,” Merchan wrote Monday. “It is no longer just a possibility or a reasonable probability that there is a threat to the integrity of the judicial process. The threat is very real.”

His previous order barred Trump from discrediting witnesses, prosecutors, court staff or jurors or commenting publicly. But the judge pointed to Trump’s comments in recent days and said the court could not trust the former president to change his behavior during the proceedings without explicit instructions.

“Warnings are not enough, and neither is relying on restraint,” Merchan added. “The average observer, after hearing of the suspect’s recent attacks, must now conclude that if he becomes involved in these proceedings, even superficially, he has to worry not only about himself, but also about himself. but also for their loved ones.”

The judge stated that these concerns would “undoubtedly” impede the due administration of justice in the Manhattan criminal case.

Former President Donald Trump is facing an extended gag order in the Manhattan hush money case, which is set to go to trial on April 15.

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Bragg’s office asked Merchan on Monday to expand the order after Trump targeted the judge’s daughter and spread false claims about her on social media.

“Defendant’s dangerous, violent, and reprehensible rhetoric poses a fundamental threat to the integrity of this proceeding and is intended to intimidate both witnesses and trial participants – including this court,” the prosecutor wrote in a court filing.

“[Trump] knows what he is doing, and so does everyone else.”

The former president attacked Merchan after the judge imposed the order last week, claiming Merchan was trying to deny the former president his “First Amendment right to speak out against the weaponization of law enforcement.” Trump claimed that Merchan’s daughter, Loren, had done so used an image of him behind bars as her profile photo on the social media platform X.

But that wasn’t true. The account was once owned by the judge’s daughter, but she deleted the handle about a year ago. It has now been taken over by someone else. A spokesperson for the New York court had to clarify that she was not linked to the account in any way.

“So, let me make this clear: the judge’s daughter can post pictures of her ‘dream’ of putting me in jail, the Manhattan district attorney can say all the lies about me he wants, the judge can violate laws and the constitution. at every turn, but I am not allowed to talk about the attacks against me,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.

Loren Merchan is a Democratic political consultant.

Trump was subject to a silence order during his civil fraud trial in New York. He was fined twice for violating the restrictions, and the judge overseeing the case warned the former president not to do so again or face even “worse” penalties.

The hush money trial against Trump starts on April 15. It centers on payments made before the 2016 presidential election to quash allegations of extramarital affairs. The payments included a reported $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels, less than a month before Election Day.

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