Trump Should Get Gag Order in Manhattan Hush Money Trial: Prosecutors


  • Prosecutors requested a gag order on Donald Trump in his upcoming Manhattan criminal trial.
  • The request is based on restrictions in a different criminal case against Trump.
  • Trump can’t be trusted not to attack jurors and witnesses, prosecutors argue.

Prosecutors have asked the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s upcoming criminal trial in Manhattan to gag him, arguing he can’t control himself from inciting his followers to attack witnesses, jurors, and court staff.

In a 330-page court filing replete with citations from Trump’s own social media posts and judicial decisions in other court cases involving the ex-president, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said Monday that a gag order was the only way to protect “the integrity of this proceeding and the fair and orderly adjudication of this case” from attacks from him and what they would “incite” from his followers.

“Defendant has a longstanding and perhaps singular history of using social media, speeches, rallies, and other public statements to attack individuals that he considers to be adversaries, including ‘courts, judges, various law enforcement officials and other public officials, and even individual jurors in other matters,'” prosecutors wrote, citing an opinion from another judge who presided over one of Trump’s civil trials.

The Manhattan district attorney’s case is the first of Trump’s four criminal cases set to go to trial, with jury selection scheduled to begin on March 25.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, in a 34-count grand jury indictment, accused Trump of illegally falsifying business documents ahead of the 2016 presidential election through his hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who says she had an affair with Trump.

Prosecutors said they tailored their gag order request based on restrictions that were upheld by a Washington, DC-based appellate court in a separate criminal case against Trump, over his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections.

Manhattan prosecutors are asking New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, the trial judge presiding over their case, to prevent Trump from making statements about “known or reasonably foreseeable” witnesses in the trial concerning their potential participation in the case.

They also asked the judge to prevent Trump from making public statements about lawyers involved in the case other than Bragg himself, whom Trump is free to criticize. Under the gag order, Trump would additionally be forbidden from attacking jurors, staff members at the DA’s office and the court, and the employees’ families.

Also on Monday, prosecutors filed a separate motion asking to keep private prospective jurors’ names and identifying information.

“Defendant’s conduct in this and other matters — including his extensive history of attacking jurors in other proceedings — presents a significant risk of juror harassment and intimidation that warrants reasonable protective measures to ensure the integrity of these proceedings, minimize obstacles to jury selection, and protect juror safety,” prosecutors wrote in that filing.

Prosecutors pointed to Trump’s extensive history of attacking people involved with his cases.

In a recent New York civil trial involving Trump — where presiding judge Arthur Engoron found him and the Trump Organization liable for fraud to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars — Trump frequently attacked the judge’s principal law clerk. The attacks triggered waves of antisemitic and sexist threats, and an appeals court upheld the gag order that Engoron imposed.

The prosecutors also noted that Merchan previously prevented Trump from disclosing discovery material in the hush-money case.

Trump could not be trusted with moderating his own comments unless the judge issued a gag order, prosecutors wrote.

“Defendant has not proven capable of regulating his impulse to engage in wide-ranging personal attacks when faced with legal claims,” they wrote.



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