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Judge expands Trump’s gag order after ex-president’s social media posts about judge’s daughter – Press Enterprise

By MICHAEL R. SISAK (Associated Press)

NEW YORK — The judge in Donald Trump’s April 15 criminal trial said Monday that his daughter was beyond the reach of the former president’s resentment, broadening the silence order days after Trump assaulted and made false statements about her on social media.

Judge Juan M. Merchan said the initial order of silence — barring Trump from making public statements about jurors, witnesses and others connected to the case — did not include members of his family , but that subsequent attacks justified their inclusion.

Trump is also now barred from publicly commenting on the family of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, although he is still free to attack Bragg, the Democratic lawmaker whose office is prosecuting the case.

“This pattern of attacking family members of presiding lawyers and attorneys assigned to its cases serves no legitimate purpose,” Merchan wrote. “This only instills fear in those subpoenaed or called to participate in the proceedings, as not only they, but also their family members, are ‘fair targets’, for the accused’s vitriol. »

A violation could result in a contempt of court conviction, a fine, or even imprisonment.

Trump criticized Merchan and his daughter, a Democratic political consultant, in a series of posts on Truth Social last Wednesday, a day after the judge issued his initial gag order. Another post this weekend included a photo of Loren Merchan.

Prosecutors had urged Merchan to clarify or expand her gag order after Trump wrote last week on his Truth Social platform that Loren Merchan “makes money working to ‘catch Trump'” and accused her of wrong to have published a photo on social networks showing him behind bars. .

Trump’s lawyers had opposed the silence order and its expansion, arguing that Trump was engaging in protected political campaign speech.

Trump’s lawyers and the Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment.

The trial, which involves allegations that Trump falsified payment records in an attempt to cover up negative stories during his 2016 presidential campaign, is scheduled to begin April 15. Trump denies any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Merchan’s silence order echoes that of Trump’s election interference criminal case in Washington, DC. It prohibits statements intended to interfere with or harass court personnel, the prosecutor’s team or their families – now including Merchan’s family.

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