Trump’s appeal of gag order in “hush money” trial rejected by New York court

In a recent ruling, a New York court dismissed former President Donald Trump’s request to remove the gag order that restricts his ability to speak about the individuals involved in his ongoing criminal trial. The court stated that the order does not infringe upon Trump’s First Amendment rights.

In March, Justice Juan Merchan, the judge presiding over Trump’s trial for 34 counts of falsifying business records, issued an order that prohibited Trump from discussing potential witnesses, jurors, attorneys, and court staff involved in the case. Later on, Merchan extended this order to also include his daughter.

Trump did not hold back in criticizing Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, despite facing charges. He maintains his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to all allegations.

The New York Supreme Court’s appellate division, first department, issued a five-page ruling on Tuesday. The court upheld Merchan’s decision, stating that he correctly recognized the potential harm posed by Trump’s public statements to the integrity of witness testimony in the case.

The ruling stated that Justice Merchan effectively balanced the petitioner’s First Amendment Rights with the court’s longstanding dedication to ensuring fair administration of justice in criminal cases. It also acknowledged the right of individuals associated with the criminal proceedings to be protected from threats, intimidation, harassment, and harm.

Merchan held Trump in contempt of court for violating the order on 10 separate occasions. In a recent warning, Merchan cautioned Trump that he could face imprisonment for any future violations.

In a recent development, Donald Trump’s remarks regarding the composition of the jury have raised concerns over the integrity and legitimacy of the ongoing proceedings. The presiding judge, Merchan, issued a written order on May 6, expressing apprehension about the potential impact of Trump’s comments. The judge emphasized that such statements not only cast doubt on the fairness of the trial but also instill fear for the safety of the jurors and their loved ones.

In court last week, Todd Blanche, Trump’s attorney, requested that Merchan modify the gag order. Blanche wanted to allow Trump to publicly respond to the recent events in court, specifically referring to the testimony provided by Stormy Daniels. Daniels, an adult film star, had received $130,000 in 2016 to stay silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump, an accusation he denies.

Merchan denied Blanche’s request, stating that the order remains in effect “due to the nature of the attacks and the intense hostility” from Trump.

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