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Judge Delivers Another Decision in Trump, Stormy Daniels Case

via C-SPAN
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A New York judge extended a gag order in Donald Trump’s criminal trial for hush money payments to prevent him from disparaging those involved, including families.

The order was strengthened after Trump labeled the judge’s daughter a “Trump hater” on social media.

The judge ruled Trump’s statements could interfere with a fair trial and threaten participant safety, noting they must now worry for themselves and loved ones.

“The average observer, must now, after hearing Defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well,” Judge Merchan wrote.

“Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

He added, “Again, all citizens, called upon to participate in these proceedings, whether as a juror, a witness, or in some other capacity, must now concern themselves not only with their own personal safety, but with the safety and the potential for personal attacks upon their loved ones. That reality cannot be overstated.”

“Given that the eve of trial is upon us, it is without question that the imminency of the risk of harm is now paramount,” Merchan wrote.

Trump’s lawyers argued this amounts to an unconstitutional limit on free speech and voters’ right to hear responses to political attacks.

The gag order prohibits discussing potential witnesses or jurors, and intimidating statements toward the prosecution, court staff or families.

It warns against disparaging key figures like Stormy Daniels but does not bar comments on the judge or district attorney.

Violating the order could result in imprisonment or fines.

Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, a prosecution witness, supported the strengthened order amid attacks from Trump supporters.

“I want to thank Judge Merchan for imposing the gag order as I have been under relentless assault from Donald’s MAGA supporters. Nevertheless, knowing Donald as well as I do, he will seek to defy the gag order by employing others within his circle to do his bidding, regardless of consequence,” Cohen said.

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