July 19, 2024
Braggs Office Again Asks Merchan to Keep Most of Gag Order Intact

Braggs Office Again Asks Merchan to Keep Most of Gag Order Intact

(Headline USA) Manhattan prosecutors are urging the judge overseeing Donald Trump’s Manhattan porn-star case to uphold a gag order that bars the former president from criticizing jurors, court staff or members of the prosecution that convicted him.

They agreed that one provision of the gag order, which prevented Trump from attacking trial witnesses in the case, could be lifted.

In court papers filed Friday, prosecutors with the District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office argued that portions of the gag order remained necessary given Trump’s “singular history of inflammatory and threatening public statements,” as well as efforts by his supporters to “identify jurors and threaten violence against him.”

The stunning effort to silence the presumptive GOP presidential nominee ahead of his July sentencing comes despite a recent admission from Judge Juan Merchan that juror misconduct may have tainted the verdict—potentially giving the defense grounds for what will be ruled a mistrial.

Earlier this month, Merchan sent a letter to the legal teams reluctantly acknowledging a post to one of the court Facebook accounts from a person purporting to be the cousin of a juror and claiming to have had advance knowledge of the guilty verdict.

Despite the shocking admission, Bragg’s partisan prosecutors insisted that Trump’s criticisms of the trial were misplaced and justified the ongoing suppression of his First Amendment rights, as well as the rights of U.S. citizens to have a thorough discussion of the facts surrounding the controversial trial in the public arena.

“Since the verdict in this case, defendant has not exempted the jurors from his alarming rhetoric that he would have ‘every right’ to seek retribution as president against the participants in this trial as a consequence of his conviction because ’sometimes revenge can be justified,” the filing claimed.

The gag order, issued in March, prohibited Trump from making or directing others to make public statements about witnesses, jurors and others connected to the case. It does not restrict comments about Merchan or Bragg

Attorneys for Trump have called on the judge to lift the order following the culmination of his trial last month, which ended in his conviction on 34 felony counts after a yearslong fishing expedition based on an eight-year-old offense that the prosecutors had to dubiously upgrade to the federal level since the state’s statute of limitations had expired. Even the prosecutors themselves cynically referred to it as the “franken-trial” due to the loose assemblage of legal theories.

However, Merchan—a donor to President Joe Biden who appeared to be receiving bribes from prominent Democrats through his daughter’s digital marketing firm—ensured that no theory was stretched beyond limit in his court, no matter how outlandish. In one final coup de grace, he told jurors they didn’t even need to agree what crime Trump had committed to convict him.

Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing, is set to be scheduled on July 11.

Defense attorneys argue Trump should be free to fully address the case as he campaigns for the White House, pointing to comments made by President Joe Biden and the continued public criticism of him by his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen and the porn actor Stormy Daniels, both key prosecution witnesses.

“Now that the trial is concluded, the concerns articulated by the government and the Court do not justify continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights” of Trump, they wrote earlier this month.

Merchan is expected to issue a ruling soon, possibly before Trump’s June 27 debate with President Joe Biden.

Earlier this week, New York’s top court declined to hear Donald Trump’s appeal on the gag order, finding it does not raise “substantial” constitutional issues that would warrant an immediate intervention.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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