May 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Judge places limits on Trump's social media posts about hush-money case


Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on April 27, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The New York judge in the hush-money criminal case against Donald Trump issued a protective order Monday that limits what evidence the former president can share publicly.

Why it matters: Trump, who's running for president again, is barred from posting on social media about the case after his previous comments led prosecutors to demand limits.

Driving the news: Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan issued the protective order to limit Trump’s ability to publicly discuss evidence in the case, brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

  • Trump cannot disseminate information about the case on "any news or social media platforms," including Truth Social, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube "without prior approval from the Court," per the order.

State of play: Prosecutors at Trump's historic arraignment last month cited "significant concern" about the effects of his social media posts on jurors and witnesses at the trial.

  • In particular, they singled out Trump’s post warning of "death and destruction" over the case and his attacks against Bragg.
  • Prosecutors asked for a protective order that would prevent Trump from sharing discovery materials on social media or sharing them with third parties.
  • Merchan, who presided over the arraignment, agreed at the time with Trump lawyer Todd Blanche that the former president has the right to free speech, but disagreed "that certain language is justified by frustration."
  • The judge instructed both sides to "refrain from making statements that are likely to incite violence and civil unrest."

Of note: Merchan has not issued a gag order and noted at Trump's arraignment that the prosecution did not request one and he would not have granted it even if Bragg had asked for it.

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