Updated Mar 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Judge issues gag order in Trump's hush money case

Former President Trump speaks during a press conference on March 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The judge overseeing former President Trump's New York hush money case issued a gag order Tuesday, barring him from commenting on witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and jurors.

The big picture: Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan made the judgment ahead of the trial's start next month in response to a request from the Manhattan district attorney's office.

Zoom in: Under the gag order, Trump cannot make, or direct others to make, public statements about counsel in the case. The exception is DA Alvin Bragg, who is an elected official.

  • Prosecutors requested the gag order last month, citing Trump's "longstanding history of attacking witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, judges, and others involved in legal proceedings against him."
  • In granting the request, Merchan wrote: "It is without question that the imminency of the risk of harm is now paramount."

What they're saying: Trump's campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, said in a statement that the order prevents Trump "from engaging in core political speech, which is entitled to the highest level of protection under the First Amendment." Cheung called it unconstitutional.

  • "Worst of all, the gag order violates the civil rights of over 100 million Americans who follow President Trump and have a First Amendment right to receive and listen to his speech," Cheung continued. 

Catch up quick: Trump has repeatedly sought to delay his legal troubles, requesting the New York criminal trial be delayed or dismissed. Merchan rejected the request on Monday and scheduled jury selection to begin April 15.

  • Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree in the case, which stems from a 2016 payment he allegedly made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
  • He has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Editor's note: This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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