Trump hit with gag order in New York hush money case after slamming judge

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the hallway outside a courtroom where he is attending a hearing in his criminal case on charges stemming from hush money paid to a porn star, in New York City on March 25, 2024.

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

A judge on Tuesday imposed a limited gag order on Donald Trump ahead of his upcoming criminal hush money trial in New York.

Trump’s statements about various figures involved in the case “were threatening, inflammatory [and] denigrating,” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan said in a court order.

“Such inflammatory statements undoubtedly risk impeding the orderly administration of this Court,” Merchan ruled.

The gag order bars Trump from making public statements about likely witnesses and jurors in the case.

He must also refrain from speaking about lawyers in the case, court staff, employees in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and their family members if those statements are made with the “intent to materially interfere” with the case.

Merchan’s order still allows Trump to speak out about Alvin Bragg, the D.A. prosecuting the former president on charges of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The gag order does not specifically bar Trump from criticizing the judge.

The decision, which granted a Feb. 22 request by Bragg to restrict Trump’s speech about the case, came hours after Trump tore into the judge as a “Trump Hater” on social media.

Trump in multiple Truth Social posts called on Merchan to recuse himself from the case, and roped the judge’s daughter into his attacks by pointing to her work for a Democratic consulting firm.

The fusillade against Merchan came one day after the judge scheduled the trial to start April 15 — rejecting a bid by Trump’s attorneys to delay it further.

Trump, who was in court when Merchan delivered that decision, said at a press conference afterward that he would be willing to testify in the trial.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche declined a request for comment.

Trump is already bound by a gag order in a separate criminal case in Washington, D.C., federal court, where he is charged with illegally trying to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden. A federal appeals court in December upheld Trump’s challenge of that gag order, but narrowed it to allow him to speak about his prosecutor, special counsel Jack Smith.

Trump also was under a gag order in his civil fraud case, in which he was found liable for fraudulently inflating his asset values on business records for financial gain.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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