Home News Trump rips judge, daughter after hush-money gag order

Trump rips judge, daughter after hush-money gag order


Trump rips judge, daughter after hush-money gag order

By Michael R. Sisak | Associated Press

Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at the New York judge who put him under a gag order that bars him from commenting publicly about witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and jurors in his upcoming hush-money criminal trial.

The former president posted on social media that the gag order was “illegal, un-American, unConstitutional” and said Judge Juan M. Merchan was “wrongfully attempting to deprive me of my First Amendment Right to speak out against the Weaponization of Law Enforcement” by Democratic rivals.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee also laid into Merchan’s daughter, a Democratic political consultant, noting that she had posted a photo on social media of him behind bars. An account appearing to belong to Loren Merchan on X, formerly known as Twitter, has a photo illustration of an imprisoned Trump as its profile picture. Loren Merchan’s consulting firm had linked to that account in a previous social media post.

The gag order does not bar comments about Merchan or his family, nor does it prohibit Trump from criticizing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the elected Democrat whose office is prosecuting him.

Messages seeking comment were left with Judge Merchan, Loren Merchan and a court spokesperson. Bragg’s office declined to comment on the gag order.

Trump’s post on Truth Social was his first reaction to the gag order, which Merchan issued on Tuesday, a day after he scheduled the trial to begin on April 15. Hours before the judge’s ruling, Trump had referred to Merchan in a Truth Social post as a “very distinguished looking man” and a “true and certified Trump Hater.”

Merchan’s order cited Trump’s history of “threatening, inflammatory, denigrating” remarks about people involved in his legal cases in granting the prosecution’s request for what it deemed a “narrowly tailored” gag order.

Though not covered by the gag order, Merchan referenced Trump’s various comments about him as an example of his rhetoric. The restrictions mirror ones imposed and largely upheld by a federal appeals court panel in Trump’s Washington, D.C., election interference criminal case.

Trump’s lawyers had fought a gag order, warning it would amount to unconstitutional and unlawful prior restraint on his free speech rights — an argument echoed by Trump in his Truth Social post.

Merchan had long resisted imposing a gag order, recognizing Trump’s “special” status as a former president and current candidate and not wanting to trample his ability to defend himself publicly. But, he said, as the trial nears, he found that his obligation to ensuring the integrity of the case outweighs First Amendment concerns. He said Trump’s statements have induced fear and necessitated added security measures to protect his targets and investigate threats.

“So, let me get this straight,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, “the Judge’s daughter is allowed to post pictures of her ‘dream’ of putting me in jail, the Manhattan D.A. is able to say whatever lies about me he wants, the Judge can violate our Laws and Constitution at every turn, but I am not allowed to talk about the attacks against me, and the Lunatics trying to destroy my life and prevent me from winning the 2024 Presidential Election, which I am dominating?”

“Maybe the Judge is such a hater because his daughter makes money by working to ‘Get Trump’ and when he rules against me over and over again, he is making her company, and her, richer and richer,” Trump continued. “How can this be allowed?”

Trump also accused President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland and their “Hacks and Thugs” of “tracking and following me all across the Country, obsessively trying to persecute me, while everyone knows I have done nothing wrong.”

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