Manhattan DA Bragg requests judge impose gag order on Trump during hush money case

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has requested a judge impose a gag order on former President Donald Trump with less than a month to go until the hush money criminal court case goes to trial.

In three separate court filings dated Feb. 22, 2024, Bragg and his team asked for an order preventing Trump from making statements attacking others involved in his legal cases, sought a protective order to prohibit the names and addresses of jurors from being disclosed to anyone other than attorneys and requested evidence and testimony regarding campaign finance be limited.

Prosecutors claim Trump has a history of verbally attacking people involved in his cases.

“Defendant has a long history of making public and inflammatory remarks about the participants in various judicial proceedings against him, including jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and court staff,” prosecutors state. “Those remarks, as well as the inevitable reactions they incite from defendant’s followers and allies, pose a significant and imminent threat to the orderly administration of this criminal proceeding and a substantial likelihood of causing material prejudice.”

Jury selection for the criminal trial is scheduled to begin on March 25.

The DA’s office requested the names and addresses of those jurors who are selected not to be disclosed to anyone other than counsel, citing the former president’s conduct toward jurors in other court proceedings.

The DA’s office cites Trump’s “conduct in this and other matters – including his extensive history of attacking jurors in other proceedings,” saying the conduct 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.”

In the filing, Bragg provided several examples of times when Trump made public statements directed at two different Fulton County grand juries.

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“Thank you to the Special Grand Jury in the Great State of Georgia for your Patriotism & Courage. Total exoneration. The USA is very proud of you,” Trump said in one instance. “Would someone please tell the Fulton County Grand Jury that I did not tamper with the election,” he said in another.

The DA said in March 2023, Trump “repeatedly directed extrajudicial statements” toward members of the grand jury using social media and commented on the credibility of witnesses who testified before the grand jury, as the grand jury investigation was underway.

One other example brought up by the DA in the filing was that Trump “frequently promises to seek revenge and retribution against his perceived opponents.”

Specifically, the DA pointed to a book published in 2007, in which Trump wrote, “My motto is: Always get even. When somebody screws you, screw them back in spades.”

The third motion filed looked to limit evidence and expert testimony that could be presented during the hush money trial, including campaign finance, “federal prosecutors’ purported views of Michael Cohen’s credibility,” and evidence that had already been rejected.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan did not immediately rule on the filings, according to The Associated Press.

Bragg’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Today, the 2-tiered system of justice implemented against President Trump is on full display, with the request by another Deranged Democrat prosecutor seeking a restrictive gag order, which if granted, would impose an unconstitutional infringement on President Trump’s First Amendment rights, including his ability to defend himself, and the rights of all Americans to hear from President Trump,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said. “This is election interference pure and simple. This case, like the others, is a sham orchestrated by partisan Democrats desperately attempting to prevent the reelection of President Trump and distract from the decrepit presidency of Crooked Joe Biden. The Radical Left will fail, and President Trump will Make America Great Again.”

Trump is already subject to a gag order in another federal case, in which Washington, D.C. charges him with scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The order was imposed in October by the judge overseeing the case, and then upheld by a federal appeals panel two months later. Still, the court drew in the initial speech restrictions and will allow Trump to criticize the special counsel who brought the case against him.

Trump was also under a limited gag order during his New York civil fraud trial and fined $15,000 for violating the order twice. The gag order was imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron on Oct. 3 after the former president posted on social media about his chief law clerk.