Gag Order on Ex-President May Be Partially Lifted, Say Prosecutors

Former U.S. President Donald Trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump. Credit | AP Photo

United States – New York prosecutors state they are ready to partially remove the gag order that the judge has issued in concern to Trump now that the Republican presidential candidate has already been convicted on criminal charges for trying to mold the 2016 elections by purchasing the silence of a porn star named Stormy Daniels.

Prosecutors’ Stance on Testimony

Manhattan prosecutors in District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said as much in a filing submitted Thursday and made public Friday that they favor his testifying about the witnesses in the case, as reported by Reuters.

However, they requested Justice Juan Merchan to retain limitations on the subject for the jurors, court staff, and individual prosecutors to touch on their safety.

Details of the Conviction

In the first criminal trial of a U. S. president, a Manhattan jury have delivered a guilty verdict on Trump for covering up his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s USD 130,000 hush money payment to adult porn star Stormy Daniels, who was ready to come forward on her story of one-time sexual conduct with Trump prior to the election.

Trump, who was elected into office for four years in 2016, has denied the alleged sexual misconduct in 2006 and assured to challenge his conviction. The verdict is set for July 11, four days before his party is to officially endorse him for the presidency to contest in the polls scheduled for November 5.

Trump’s lawyers have not replied to the request for comment on Friday.

They wanted to have this gag order lifted, as they said it hampered his capacity to reply to adversative political figures. They also complained that he was deprived of the right to reply to attacks from Cohen and Daniels, who testified as witnesses before the trial.

They stressed it was of particular relevance to the next Thursday’s debate between Trump and the Democratic President, Joe Biden, who described Trump as a convicted felon.

Defense and Prosecution Arguments

The independence of Merchan regarding the allowance of any changes to the gag order had not been known. During the seven-week trial, the judge fined the defendant USD 10,000 for violating the order and cautioned him on May 6 that he would be incarcerated if he violated it again.

Merchan issued the gag order prior to trial in April, stating that Trump’s history of inflammatory posts threatened to prejudice the case.

They stated that the gag order does not prevent Trump from giving out his views on the verdict, the case in its entirety, Bragg or Merchan, or any other person involved in handling such cases.

“Many of the defendant’s complaints simply ignore the narrowness of this Court’s orders,” they wrote in the filing.

Trump’s comments on trial witnesses, the prosecutors said the restriction is no longer necessary.

But they said: “Defendant’s supporters, following his lead, have attempted to identify jurors and threatened violence against them.”

Defense’s Constitutional Argument

“There thus remains a critical need to protect the jurors in this case from attacks by the defendant and those he inspires to action,” they wrote, as reported by Reuters

Earlier, defense attorneys insisted that punishing Trump for “harassing communications” by so-called “independent third parties” infringed on the Constitution’s Freedom of Speech.