1. Home
  2. Politics
  3. world
  4. news
  5. Trump gagged in NY hush-money case. The judge bans statements about witnesses, court staff, and jurors.

Trump gagged in NY hush-money case. The judge bans statements about witnesses, court staff, and jurors.

Laura Italiano   

Trump gagged in NY hush-money case. The judge bans statements about witnesses, court staff, and jurors.
  • Trump's hush-money judge, Juan Merchan, on Tuesday issued a strongly-worded gag order.
  • The order bans any statements about witnesses, court staff, or jurors.

The Manhattan judge who will preside over the first criminal trial of Donald Trump issued a strongly-worded gag order on Tuesday barring the GOP frontrunner from making statements about witnesses, court staff, and jurors.

Trump brought the gag order on himself, the judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, wrote. Merchan will preside over Trump's hush-money trial, set to start jury selection on April 15.

"The uncontested record reflecting the Defendant's prior extrajudicial statements establishes a sufficient risk to the administration of justice," the judge wrote Tuesday.

The gag order was made public four hours after Trump referred to Merchan's political-consultant daughter in a Truth Social post Tuesday morning.

Trump's public statements about the criminal cases against him have been "threatening, inflammatory, denigrating," the judge wrote in issuing the gag.

The statements have targeted "local and federal officials, court and court staff, prosecutors and staff assigned to the cases, and private individuals including grand jurors performing their civic duty," he said.

Read Judge Merchan's gag order here.

The gag bars three kinds of "extrajudicial statements," meaning statements Trump makes outside the courtroom.

He is barred from "making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation in the investigation of or in this criminal proceeding," the judge ordered.

He is also barred from "making or directing others to make public statements about any prospective juror or any juror in this criminal proceeding."

He is further barred from public statements about prosecutors, with the exception of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Nor can he make statements about court staff or their family members "if those statements are made with the intent to materially interfere with" their work on the case.

Merchan did not make specific mention on Tuesday of Trump's attacks last year on the judge's own family — but future attacks on Merchan's family would be barred.

Trump remains free to take shots at Merchan himself, as he did on Truth Social on Tuesday morning.

"Judge Juan Merchan, a very distinguished looking man, is nevertheless a true and certified Trump Hater who suffers from a very serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome," Trump wrote.

The post went on to attack Merchan's daughter.

"His daughter is a senior executive at a Super Liberal Democratic firm that works for Adam "Shifty" Schiff, the Democratic National Committee, (Dem)Senate Majority PAC, and even Crooked Joe Biden," Trump "truthed."

Merchan's daughter has worked as an executive at a progressive political consultant firm with a clientele that includes Joe Biden, according to CNBC.

Prosecutors sought a gag for a month

Manhattan prosecutors have been asking for a gag order since mid-February. Trump's defense team opposed it, arguing that he, as a presidential candidate, should enjoy a First Amendment right to freely address the case against him.

"Tens of millions of Americans," Trump had argued, want to hear him respond to the case, which he calls an attack by political opponents.

Indeed, the judge wrote Tuesday, a defendant's right to free speech should only be abridged "to prevent outside influences, including extrajudicial speech, from disturbing the integrity of a trial."

But Trump's extrajudicial statements "went far beyond defending himself against attacks by public figures, the judge wrote.

Last April, just six hours after his hush-money arraignment, the former president railed to an audience at Mar-a-Lago that, "I have a Trump-hating wife with a Trump-hating family, whose daughter worked for Kamala Harris and now receives money from the Biden-Harris campaign."

Trump's spoken and online screeds against Allison Greenfield, the principal law clerk in his Manhattan civil fraud case, spurred a gag order and sanctions in that case, also last year, after she was deluged with threatening hate mail.

Trump's civil fraud judge, state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, is another frequent target of the former president's ire and has been subjected to a bomb threat and hate mail that included an envelope containing white powder.

"The consequences of those statements included not only fear on the part of the individual targeted, but also the assignment of increased security resources to investigate threats and protect the individuals and family members thereof," Merchan wrote in Tuesday's gag order.

"Such inflammatory extrajudicial statements undoubtedly risk impeding the orderly administration of this Court."

This story was updated.

Popular Right Now