Trump asks judge to lift gag order in hush money case


Attorneys for Donald Trump on Monday asked a New York judge overseeing the former president’s hush money trial to lift a gag order against the former president.

Trump’s attorneys asked that Judge Juan Merchan terminate the gag order restricting Trump’s extrajudicial statements because “the stated bases for the gag order no longer exist.”

“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,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche wrote in the request made public on Tuesday.

The former president’s attorneys argued that Trump had a “constitutional mandate for unrestrained campaign advocacy,” citing President Joe Biden’s public comments about the jury’s verdict last week, in addition to “continued public attacks” from Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen and porn actress Stormy Daniels, who both served as key witnesses in the trial. The former president’s lawyers also pointed to the upcoming presidential debate slated for June 27.

Trump’s request comes as the Biden campaign has become increasingly vocal about the former president’s legal issues. NBC News was first to report last week that Biden’s campaign had explored taking a more aggressive position.

At a campaign event on Monday, Biden called the former president a “convicted felon” who “snapped” after the 2020 election.

If the court fails to grant their request the Trump’s team has requested an opportunity to submit a briefing.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.

Prosecutors initially requested a partial gag order in February, arguing that the former president had a “long history” of making public and inflammatory remarks about those involved in various judicial proceedings against him.

In March, Merchan issued a partial gag order instructing the former president to “refrain” from “making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation” in the case, as well as about prosecutors, court staff, jurors and potential jury members.

The order was later expanded to block Trump for commenting on Merchan’s family and family members of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg after the former president attacked Merchan’s daughter on social media.

Trump was fined $10,000 during trial for repeatedly violating the gag order.

In his March 26 order, Merchan noted prosecutors had filed for the gag order to be imposed “for the duration of the trial.” A date was not specified in the order for the restrictions to be lifted.

Trump was convicted Thursday on 34 counts of falsifying business records tied to reimbursing Cohen for hush money paid to Daniels in the final days of the 2016 campaign. Trump had pleaded not guilty in the case, and denied Daniels’ claims that she had a sexual encounter with him in 2006. Trump’s sentencing in the case is scheduled for July 11.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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