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Trump barred from attacks on judge’s daughter in New York “hush money” case gag order

A New York judge on Monday barred former President Donald Trump from making public comments about the judge’s family.

Judge Juan Merchan’s order came after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecutors asked Merchan to expand a previously issued silence order in this case, “making it clear that the court family is prohibited.”

Merchan ultimately decided that the comments about his daughter “would undoubtedly interfere with the just administration of justice and constitute a direct attack on the rule of law itself.”

“The average observer must now, after hearing the recent attacks of the defendants, draw the conclusion that if they are involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should be concerned not only for themselves, but also for their loved ones ” Merchan wrote. “Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and are a direct attack on the rule of law itself.”

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump’s presidential campaign, called the new silence order “unconstitutional” in a statement to CBS News, saying it prevents Trump “from engaging in fundamental political discourse.”

“Worst of all, the gag order violates the civil rights of more than 100 million Americans who follow President Trump and who have a First Amendment right to receive and listen to his speech.” , Cheung said, echoing an argument made by Trump’s lawyers.

Trump repeatedly mentioned Judge Merchan’s daughter in social media posts before and after Merchan imposed a silence order on March 26, limiting what Trump could say about those involved in the upcoming April 15 trial .

Trump was barred from commenting on potential witnesses in the case, potential jurors, court staff, attorneys in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, and relatives of any attorneys or members of the court staff, but he was free to attack Bragg and Merchan.

Trump instead focused his anger on Merchan’s daughter, denouncing her work for a Democratic consulting firm, linking to an article with a photo of her and claiming she posted a doctored photo of him behind bars.

This claim was denied by a court spokesperson, Al Baker, who said the photo was the result of “manipulation of an account she had long abandoned.”

Trump’s lawyers highlighted Baker’s rebuttal in their effort to prevent the extension of the hush order, accusing Merchan in a filing Monday of using “the Office of Judicial Administration to respond to media reports concerning Your Honor’s daughter.

They also indicated in the filing that they would seek Merchan’s recusal from the case a second time, arguing that Merchan should not have participated in a recent interview with the Associated Press. In the interview, Merchan declined to discuss the trial, saying only that his preparation was “intense” and that he was striving “to make sure I did everything I could to be prepared and to make sure we do justice.”

“There’s no agenda here,” Merchan said in the interview. “We want to follow the law. We want justice to be done.”

The matter revolves around reimbursements for a “hush money” payment made by his former lawyer to an adult film star, days before the 2016 presidential election. Trump denies all allegations, has claimed the charges were political retaliation and has pleaded not guilty in the case, in which he is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records.

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