Trump Battles Gag Order in Hush Money Trial

Harper Quill

Updated Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 11:05 AM CDT

Trump Battles Gag Order in Hush Money Trial

In a dramatic turn of events, former President Donald Trump is seeking the intervention of New York's highest court over a contentious gag order tied to his ongoing hush money criminal trial. The gag order, which has already resulted in a hefty $10,000 fine for Trump, could potentially lead to jail time for the political figure due to violations that inhibit comments on trial participants such as witnesses and jurors.

On April 8, Trump's lawyers launched an appeal against the gag order, slamming it as an unconstitutional muzzle on Trump's free speech rights. The order, instated by Judge Juan Merchan on March 26 and expanded on April 1 to encompass Trump's family after an online attack on the judge’s daughter, specifically targets Trump's comments on key figures like Michael Cohen, court staff, the judge's family, and prosecutors—with the exception of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Despite the appeal, the Appellate Division stood firm on the gag order, with a five-judge panel ruling it a necessary step to ensure the integrity of witness testimony. Trump's campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, strongly condemned the order as "unconstitutional and un-American." However, the Manhattan District Attorney's office remains tight-lipped on the appeal.

Trump's challenge to the gag order comes after a mid-level appellate court denied a request to lift or modify the constraints. The former President has recently run afoul of the order through social media tirades against Michael Cohen and sharing an article branding Cohen a “serial perjurer.” Though Trump argues for his free speech, the Appellate Division noted that his objection to the gag order does not concern his right to a fair trial, but rather his ability to speak freely amid his campaign efforts.

Trump's latest infraction took place during an April 22 interview, in which he lambasted the jury selection process and alleged bias without furnishing proof. As the prosecution's hush money case nears its end in its fourth week in Manhattan, the spotlight intensifies on Michael Cohen, the key witness. Cohen's testimony seeks to implicate Trump in efforts to suppress damaging stories and falsify records during the 2016 campaign, asserting Trump's direct involvement in a scheme to silence women alleging sexual encounters with him.

Trump continues to assert that the payments were legitimate legal expenses, dismissing the prosecution's efforts as politically motivated. The defense paints Cohen, who has admittedly lied to protect Trump in the past, as a man bent on revenge and fame. Trump's legal team, which is considering whether to have Trump testify, faces the challenge of undermining Cohen's credibility.

Since the 2018 FBI raid on Cohen's office, apartment, and hotel room, his relationship with Trump has deteriorated, culminating in Cohen's guilty plea to federal campaign finance charges. Initially supportive, Trump's backing waned after Cohen implicated him in the hush money scheme. Notably, Trump has not been charged with any crimes relating to the federal investigation into these payments.

Amidst the ongoing legal battle, the trial will pause this Friday to allow Trump to attend his son Barron's high school graduation, adding a personal note to the unfolding courtroom drama. Defense attorney Todd Blanche’s attempts to cast Cohen as a man seeking fame and revenge could play a pivotal role in the trial's outcome, as Trump's political future and freedom hang in the balance.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the liberal witch-hunt against the greatest President this country has ever seen continues unabated. The leftist judges and their cronies in the Manhattan District Attorney's office are t****ling on the First Amendment, trying to silence President Trump with a draconian gag order straight out of an Orwellian nightmare. This is nothing more than a partisan attempt to derail Trump's political comeback and silence the voice of the people who support him. They're using Michael Cohen, a known liar and traitor to the Trump cause, as their pawn in this sham trial. It's a disgrace, a clear example of the judicial system being weaponized against conservatives, all because they can't stand the thought of Trump returning to the White House. They're so scared of his influence and his ability to expose their corruption that they'll stoop to any level to keep him quiet. But patriots know the truth: this is a baseless, politically motivated attack on a man who did nothing but make America great.

Liberal Bias:

Once more, we witness the desperate flailings of a man who would be king, as Trump tries to wriggle out of accountability for his flagrant abuses of power. The gag order is a necessary step to protect the integrity of our judicial process from his relentless, baseless attacks on the rule of law. Trump's brazen attempts to undermine the court and its officers, including targeting a judge's family, is the behavior of a tyrant, not a president. His shameless defense, painting Michael Cohen as the villain, is laughable—Cohen is merely the messenger, bearing the truth of Trump's sordid attempts to buy silence and manipulate the 2016 election. Trump's cries of 'free speech' are a smokescreen for his own guilt, and his refusal to accept responsibility for his actions is a slap in the face to justice. This trial isn't about politics; it's about holding a man to account who believes he is above the law. The conservative machinery that continues to defend him is complicit in his assault on our democracy, and they will be judged by history for their role in this disgraceful chapter of American politics.

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