Prosecutors Seek Trump Gag Order in NY Hush Money Criminal Case

In the New York trial of the former president on charges of hush money to a porn star, prosecutors have requested a gag order from the judge to prevent the former president from publicly criticizing witnesses or disclosing the identity of jurors. This was indicated in court documents that were released today.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office made the demands, citing Trump’s “longstanding history of attacking witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, judges and others involved in legal proceedings against him.”

Thirteen criminal cases against Trump will go to trial in Manhattan state court beginning on March 25. Trump is attempting to win back the president in the Nov. 5 U.S. election. Not guilty is his plea.

He is accused of falsifying business records to cover his lawyer Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to keep her silent about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump a decade earlier. He has denied any such relationship.

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said a gag order in the case would infringe on Trump’s right to free speech, if implemented.

“This is election interference pure and simple,” Cheung said in a statement.

Trump is cruising toward the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in November.

Judges may impose gag orders – which restrict defendants or others involved in court cases from speaking publicly about certain aspects of legal proceedings – to try to prevent intimidation of witnesses or jurors, or to protect court staff from threats.

If approved in this case by Justice Juan Merchan, the gag order would bar Trump from “making or directing others to make” statements about witnesses concerning their role in the case.

The district attorney’s office also asked that Trump be barred from commenting on prosecutors on the case – other than Bragg himself – as well as court staff members. Trump previously has called Bragg, who is a Democrat, an “animal” and a “degenerate psychopath.”

Merchan on Feb. 15 denied Trump’s request to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the case was brought for partisan purposes and that state laws do not apply to federal elections.

The measures Bragg requested are similar to restrictions a federal judge in Washington imposed last year in Trump’s criminal case on charges involving his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden.

In a civil fraud case, a New York state judge fined Trump a total of $15,000 for twice violating a gag order barring him from publicly talking about court staff.

Bragg’s office requested that jurors be referred to only by number in open court to shield their identities. Their names should still be disclosed to the parties in the case, but Trump should be put “on notice” that he would lose his right to access their names should he threaten their safety, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors called that request “modest,” pointing to two federal civil cases in which jurors who ordered Trump to pay the writer E. Jean Carroll nearly $90 million were fully anonymous.

Prosecutors have said the payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was part of a broader “catch-and-kill” scheme to prevent allegations that Trump had extramarital affairs from coming to light ahead of the 2016 election.

In a separate filing on Monday, prosecutors said that at the time of the payoff, Trump’s staff was concerned about his standing with female voters due to the leak of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump made vulgar comments about women. They asked the tape be admitted as evidence at trial.

“The motivation to complete the Daniels non-disclosure agreement cannot be understood without reference to the desperation facing defendant and his campaign in the wake of the tape’s release,” prosecutors wrote.

Cohen in 2018 pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws with the payment to Daniels, which exceeded contribution limits. He spent more than a year in prison.

Share this:

Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *