Tuesday morning in lower Manhattan, New York, there was no shortage of commotion as former President Donald Trump appeared in court to be arraigned in the case brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
The Republican presidential candidate pleaded not guilty to 34 charges alleging he lied about his business records in relation to the Stormy Daniels hush-money case, in which he was accused of falsifying business records to facilitate the less than $200,000 payment. In an ongoing case, a Manhattan grand jury has indicted Trump on charges that he was involved in the alleged payment of hush money to Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election in order to silence her about their affair in 2006.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Manhattan judge presiding over the Trump case warned the former president not to make online statements that could incite violence. Trump was not, however, subject to a gag order, which would have prevented him from discussing the case.
Judge Juan Merchan stated that Trump and other witnesses that prosecutors intend to summon should “refrain from making statements likely to incite violence or create civil unrest.”
“Prosecutor Christopher Conroy raised Trump’s recent use of incendiary language on his Truth Social media platform, highlighting a number of the posts during the proceeding and handing the judge several examples printed on paper. Because of the posts, Conroy said, prosecutors are working with Trump’s attorneys to draw up a protective order that would bar the ex-prez from posting sensitive information turned over to his legal team as part of the discovery process in the case,” the New York Post reported.
“The order currently being hashed out would bar Trump from providing the discovery material to any third party and from posting it on social media. Trump would also be required to review any shared sensitive material in the presence of his attorneys, and would not be allowed to take physical copies of such documents with him,” the outlet added.
One of Trump’s attorneys, Todd Blanche, argued in court that the grand jury process has already been tainted by leaks and that Michael Cohen, one of the prosecution’s main witnesses at the grand jury meeting, spoke to the media about his testimony.
As part of his request, Judge Merchan instructed the prosecutors and Trump’s legal team to create a court order outlining the president’s ability to discuss confidential case information on social media.
Multiple liberal media outlets have even criticized Bragg’s case against Trump for being insufficient.
Senior correspondent at Vox, Ian Millhiser, wrote: “There is something painfully anticlimactic about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of former President Trump. It concerns not Trump’s efforts to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States, but his alleged effort to cover up a possible extramarital affair with a porn star. And there’s a very real risk that this indictment will end in an even bigger anticlimax. It is unclear that the felony statute that Trump is accused of violating actually applies to him.”
Separately, a liberal writer for the ultra-left-leaning publication Slate elaborated on this sentiment in an article titled “The Trump Indictment Is Not the Lock Democrats Wanted.”
The onslaught of backlash continued with former Whitewater deputy counsel Sol Wisenberg who said: “The question to ask yourself in a case like this [is], ‘Would a case like this be brought against anybody else, whether he or she be president, former president or a regular citizen?’ The answer is… no. You can debate all day long whether or not… Trump should be indicted related to the records at Mar-a-Lago, whether or not he should be indicted with respect to Jan. 6 incitement of lawless activity… Those are real crimes if they occurred, and he committed them. This is preposterous.”
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, called the case “outrageous,” adding that “[Bragg] is attempting to bootstrap [a] federal crime into a state case. And if that is the basis for the indictment, I think it’s rather outrageous.”