Apr 18, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors: Trump violated gag order in hush money trial seven more times

Donald Trump arrives for his criminal trial as jury selection continues at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 18

Former President Trump in Manhattan Criminal Court on April 18. Photo: Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty Images

Prosecutors accused former President Trump on Thursday of repeatedly violating the gag order the judge placed on him in his New York hush money case.

Why it matters: Trump is already in hot water for criticizing potential witnesses Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen, with prosecutors moving earlier this week to hold him in contempt of violating the gag order.

Driving the news: Prosecutors on Thursday alleged that Trump has violated the gag order seven more times since Monday, according to court pool reports.

  • Prosecutors pointed to Trump's social media posts linking to articles calling Cohen a "serial perjurer" and alleging that "undercover liberal activists" are lying to the judge to get on the jury, per a pool report.
  • The prosecution filed a new motion requesting the posts be included in next week's hearing, per NBC News.
  • It's ridiculous and it has to stop," prosecutor Chris Conroy said, CNN reported.

The other side: Emil Bove, one of Trump's lawyers, argued the social media posts didn't "establish any willful violations" of the gag order and that reposting other people's public comments shouldn't constitute a violation, per a pool report.

  • Instead, Bove argued, Trump's posts highlighted some of the order's "ambiguities."
  • Bove said that Cohen has been attacking Trump in "connection to the campaign," and therefore Trump's comments were related to the campaign.
  • Merchan did not rule Thursday regarding the possible violations, saying he will wait for next week's hearing, the New York Times reported.

State of play: Merchan issued a gag order against Trump last month, prohibiting him from commenting on witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and jurors in the case, with the exception of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg who is an elected official.

  • The judge expanded the order earlier this month, barring Trump from attacking family members of those involved in the case.

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