Trump gag order sought in New York hush money trial


Former U.S. President Donald Trump appears in court with members of his legal team for an arraignment on charges stemming from his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, in New York City on April 4, 2023.

Timothy A. Clary | Pool | Reuters

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Monday asked a judge to impose a gag order on former President Donald Trump ahead of his upcoming trial on charges of falsifying business records related to a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Prosecutors want Trump barred from making public comments about witnesses, jurors, trial prosecutors, members of the court staff and any relatives of lawyers and court staff involved in the case.

They also want him barred from directing others to make public statements about any prospective juror or jurors in the trial, which is scheduled to begin March 25 in Manhattan Supreme Court.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office in its motion to Judge Juan Merchan said those restrictions are essentially identical to a gag order on Trump imposed by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., in a case where he is charged with crimes connected to his efforts to reverse his loss in the 2020 election. A federal appeals court upheld that gag order, while slightly narrowing it.

Bragg’s filing Monday said, “the need for such protection” from a gag order “is compelling.”

Trump “has a long history of making public and inflammatory remarks about the participants in various judicial proceedings against him, including jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and court staff,” the filing said.

“Those remarks, as well as the inevitable reactions they incite from defendant’s followers and allies, pose a significant and imminent threat to the orderly administration of this criminal proceeding and a substantial
likelihood of causing material prejudice.”

Trump would be allowed to make public statements about Bragg under the proposed gag order.

Trump’s defense lawyer, Susan Necheles, in an email to CNBC said, “There is no basis for the requested gag order. We will be responding in our motion papers.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a press conference following the arraignment of former U.S. President Donald Trump in New York City on April 4, 2023.

The Washington Post | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Trump is accused in the case of 34 counts of falsifying business records to obscure the true nature of a $130,000 payment his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen made to porn actor Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about her claim of a sexual tryst with Trump.

Trump denies having sex with Daniels, but both he and his company reimbursed Cohen for the payment.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case, which is just one of four criminal cases he faces as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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