Donald Trump requests New York trial gag order be lifted

World Wednesday 05/June/2024 14:57 PM
By: DW
Donald Trump requests New York trial gag order be lifted

New York: Donald Trump's lawyers have asked a judge to repeal a gag order imposed on the former president before his criminal trial in New York, barring him from commenting on witnesses, jurors and other people linked to the case.

Judge Juan Merchan imposed the restriction ahead of the trial following repeated attacks by Trump on prosecutors and likely witnesses on social media.

During the trial, in which Trump was eventually found guilty of falsifying records to cover up a potential sex scandal, becoming the first ever former US President to be convicted, Trump was fined $10,000 (€9,190) and threatened with jail for flouting the order on 10 occasions.

Trump's lawyers cite First Amendment
On Tuesday, Trump's lawyers Todd Blanche and Emil Bove wrote to Judge Merchan to ask him to terminate the gag order restricting his extrajudicial statements.

"Now that the trial is concluded, the concerns articulated by the government and the court do not justify continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump, who remains the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election," they wrote.

Among other things, the lawyers said their client was entitled to "unrestrained campaign advocacy" ahead of the first presidential election TV debate on June 27, especially in light of President Joe Biden's repeated description of him this week as a "convicted felon."

In imposing the order, Merchan noted prosecutors had sought the restrictions "for the duration of the trial," but he did not specify when they would be lifted, whether after the verdict was given or after sentencing on July 11.

"I don't mean [it] in any way as being disrespectful of the judge and the process; I just want to be careful and understand when [the gag order] no longer applies," Trump's lawyer Blanche told the Associated Press news agency.

In the meantime, Trump has continued to operate under the assumption that he's still muzzled, telling reporters on Friday at Trump Tower: "I'm under a gag order, nasty gag order."