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Manhattan prosecutors ask for 'gag order' to contain Trump's speech at his first criminal trial

2024-02-26T22:02:41.664Z

Highlights: Manhattan prosecutors ask for 'gag order' to contain Trump's speech at his first criminal trial. The gag order would protect jurors, witnesses, judges and others involved in the 'Stormy Daniels case' from their public comments. Trump, the favorite Republican candidate in his party's November presidential primaries, is accused of paying $130,000 in cash to the adult film actress in 2016. If the judge in charge of the case approves the gag order, Trump would be prohibited from making statements "that materially interfere with the case"


The gag order would protect jurors, witnesses, judges and others involved in the 'Stormy Daniels case' from their public comments.


The Manhattan district prosecutors who investigated the case of the bribe paid by Donald Trump to porn actress Stormy Daniels have asked the judge on Monday for a gag order to protect jurors, witnesses and other people involved in the case.

The formula consists of restricting Trump's usually language-filled speech, as already happened in Washington during the investigation of another of the four criminal charges against him.

The gag order would limit the possibility of making public comments, sometimes denigratory - as was also the case in the New York civil trial for defamation - and sometimes excessively revealing, as when, in that same process, he identified, in the worst cases, terms, to some of the judge's assistants.

The

Stormy Daniels case

will be the first of the four criminal cases to be tried, with the jury being constituted on March 25.

Trump, the favorite Republican candidate in his party's November presidential primaries, is accused of paying $130,000 in cash to the adult film actress in 2016 to buy her silence about the extramarital relationship they had.

The bribe was recorded as a legal expense in the accounts of his company, although its objective was to prevent any publicity of the affair from harming his electoral options.

The irregularity of the payment, considered falsification of commercial records by the prosecutor's office, borders on violating campaign finance laws.

If the judge in charge of the case, Juan Merchan - the same one who read him the 34 criminal charges last April - approves the gag order, Trump would be prohibited from making statements "that materially interfere with the case" about the court personnel, his relatives, any member of the jury, as well as Manhattan prosecutors, except for the owner, Alvin Bragg.

Prosecutors' demand to clamp Trump's speech marks a significant escalation in his numerous run-ins with justice.

“The need for such protection is compelling,” they wrote in their petition.

“The defendant has a long history of public and inflammatory comments about participants in various judicial proceedings against him, including jurors, witnesses, attorneys and court staff (…) Those comments, as well as the inevitable reactions they provoke among followers and allies of the accused, pose a significant and imminent threat to the orderly administration of this criminal process and a substantial probability of causing material harm," they have argued.

Trump's incontinence has cost him several reprimands from some judges.

In the civil trial for continued fraud in his businesses, for which he has been sentenced to pay 355 million dollars plus interest - and which his lawyers have appealed this Monday -, Judge Arthur Engoron was forced to ask the former president's lawyers that they would control their client, in a similar way to someone who urges another to muzzle their dog.

Trump's tirades, disqualifications and outbursts in court have put judges and magistrates on the spot several times.

“This is pure and simple electoral interference”

Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to each and every one of the 91 criminal charges that make up the four indictments against him, has previously attacked the

gag orders

that were imposed on him in two other cases, the one in Washington and the one in New York .

His lawyers have argued that they violate their client's right to the First Amendment, which enshrines freedom of expression, by “stifling” Trump's central political speech as a presidential candidate.

His defense has again regretted this Monday “the request of another deranged Democratic prosecutor [Alvin Bragg] who seeks a restrictive

gag order

, which, if granted, would unconstitutionally infringe his First Amendment rights, including his ability to defend himself, and the right of all Americans to listen to President Trump.

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

Bragg's office, citing the two precedents of gag orders, has stressed that the request made today is especially necessary as it is the first criminal trial of a former president in the history of the United States. As it is at the state level, if he is found guilty, he will not He could pardon himself or invalidate the process if he reaches the White House in November, which could arise in the other federal charges.

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