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New York Judge Enforces Gag Order on Trump Ahead of Hush Money Trial

A New York judge has imposed a gag order on former President Donald Trump, restricting him from making statements about potential witnesses in the upcoming criminal trial related to hush money payments. Judge Juan Merchan issued the order, preventing Trump from discussing certain individuals involved in the case.

The gag order prohibits Trump from making statements about potential witnesses, attorneys, court staff, or the family members of prosecutors or lawyers that could interfere with the trial. Additionally, Trump is barred from discussing any potential or actual jurors. Judge Merchan cited Trump’s history of making “threatening, inflammatory, denigrating” statements against individuals involved in legal proceedings, including jurors, as justification for the order.

The ruling comes as Trump faces charges in connection with hush money payments made before the 2016 election to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump is accused of falsifying business records related to reimbursements to his former attorney, Michael Cohen, for these payments. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The gag order prevents Trump from criticizing Cohen or Daniels, both of whom are expected to testify at trial. However, Trump is still permitted to discuss New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is considered a public figure, and Judge Merchan himself.

The decision to enforce the gag order follows Trump’s repeated attacks on the district attorney’s case and individuals involved in it. Trump criticized Judge Merchan, his daughter, and a prosecutor on Bragg’s staff in the hours leading up to the issuance of the order.

Despite objections from Trump’s attorneys, Judge Merchan emphasized the necessity of the gag order to prevent further interference with the administration of justice. Trump’s trial is scheduled to begin on April 15, with jury selection set to commence on that date.

The gag order is the latest in a series of legal restrictions imposed on Trump in various criminal and civil cases. Previous gag orders have been issued in cases related to fraud and election subversion. Judge Merchan’s decision reflects concerns about the impact of Trump’s extrajudicial statements on the fairness and integrity of the trial proceedings.

As the trial date approaches, Trump’s remarks and actions continue to be closely monitored by the court, with Judge Merchan warning against any further attempts to influence the legal process. Despite ongoing challenges, the pursuit of justice in the hush money case remains a top priority for prosecutors and the judicial system alike.