A New York judge is dictating to former President Donald Trump what he is permitted to say regarding his Manhattan criminal case.
ABC reports that New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan granted a request from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to limit what Donald Trump can say publicly about evidence that the prosecution shares with the defense prior to his trial.
The order said that “any person who receives the Covered Materials shall not copy, disseminate, or disclose the Covered Materials, in any form or by any means, to any third party including, but not limited to, by disseminating or posting the Covered Materials to any news or social media platforms, including, but not limited, to Truth Social, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, or YouTube, without prior approval from the Court.”
Judge Juan Merchan has slapped a social media gag order on Trump in the Manhattan hush money case.
— CoffeyTimeNews (@CoffeyTimeNews) May 8, 2023
Merchan stated last week that, despite the fact that Trump is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, he is not prohibiting Trump from commenting on the case, which alleges that Trump falsified business records in 2016 to aid his presidential campaign, as reported by ABC.
“I’m straining to give him every opportunity to make his candidacy. This is not a gag order,” he said.
Trump must attend a virtual hearing during which the order will be read to him. The prosecutors explained that the purpose of the virtual hearing, to which Merchan consented, was to ensure that Trump comprehends the order.
The order said, “[A]ny materials and information provided by the People to the Defense in accordance with their discovery obligations…shall be used solely for the purposes of preparing a defense in this matter.”
The order said Trump can review “Limited Dissemination Materials” provided by the prosecution only when his attorneys are present and “shall not be permitted to copy, photograph, transcribe, or otherwise independently possess the Limited Dissemination Materials.”
Trump is banned from seeing “forensic images of witness cell phones,” but can see “approved portions” of the images if the judge agrees.
“Donald J. Trump has a longstanding and perhaps singular history of attacking witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, trial jurors, grand jurors, judges, and others involved in legal proceedings against him, putting those individuals and their families at considerable safety risk,” the DA’s office said last month in a filing, according to NBC.
Trump’s counsel claimed the edict violated his constitutional rights.
“The People’s Proposed Protective Order infringes upon President Trump’s First Amendment right to freely discuss his own character and qualifications for federal office and the First Amendment rights of the American people to hear President Trump’s side of the story,” they said in a filing.
The order also requires that “the names and identifying information of New York County District Attorney’s Office personnel, other than sworn members of law enforcement, assistant district attorneys, and expert or fact witnesses (other than summary witnesses), shall be delayed until the commencement of jury selection and permitting the People to redact such names and identifying information from any of the Covered Materials.”
Trump attacked Merchan on his Truth Socal platform in March.
“The Judge ‘assigned’ to my Witch Hunt Case, a ‘Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME. His name is Juan Manuel Marchan, was hand picked by Bragg & the Prosecutors, & is the same person who ‘railroaded’ my 75 year old former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, to take a “plea” deal (Plead GUILTY, even if you are not, 90 DAYS, fight us in Court, 10 years (life!) in jail. He strong armed Allen, which a judge is not allowed to do, & treated my companies, which didn’t “plead,” VICIOUSLY. APPEALING!” Trump wrote.
According to NBC, Trump has asked for the case to be transferred to federal court due to the prejudice he claims exists against him.