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Judge Merchan eases GAG ORDER on Trump, allowing him to comment on jurors and witnesses
By Ramon Tomey // Jun 28, 2024

Judge Juan Merchan has eased the gag order he imposed on former President Donald Trump, allowing the real estate mogul to comment on witnesses and jurors in the hush money trial.

The acting justice of the New York State Supreme Court modified Trump's gag order on June 25. Under the revision, the former president can now comment on witnesses and jurors in the trial – including his former lawyer Michael Cohen and adult film actress Stormy Daniels (born Stephanie Clifford), both key witnesses.

Merchan's modified gag order on Trump still prohibits the former president from commenting about court staff and prosecutors until his sentencing on July 11. The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg agreed with the judge's decision to ease the gag order concerning witnesses. It maintained, however, that comments about jurors and court staff should remain restricted until post-sentencing.

According to a copy of Merchan's June 25 order reviewed by Fox News, the gag order was issued in the first place "to protect the integrity of the judicial proceedings." But Trump's guilty verdict in late May and the jury's subsequent dismissal ended the trial portion of the proceedings. The former president was found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the rigged hush money trial. (Related: Donald Trump found GUILTY on all 34 charges in blatantly rigged New York trial, could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.)

"[While it is the court's] strong preference to extend those protections, the court cannot do so on what is now a different record than what the appellate courts relied upon when they rendered their rulings," Merchan continued. He referenced the New York Court of Appeals' rejection of Trump's motion to have the gag order against him lifted. The judge allied with the Democratic Party ultimately stated that the gag order, in its totality, would be terminated after "the imposition of sentence."

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Gag order infringes on Trump's First Amendment rights

Trump's legal team argued in the now-rejected motion that the gag order imposed by Merchan should be removed in its entirety, citing the need for the former president to defend himself publicly. Trump's lawyers also argued that the gag order infringes on his First Amendment rights, especially since both Cohen and Daniels have continued to speak out against him.

Trump's conviction could lead to a sentence of up to four years in prison, though the specific penalty remains uncertain. Following his May 30 conviction, Trump blasted the gag order and made remarks that bordered on violating it. He referred to Cohen as a "sleazebag" and expressed dissatisfaction with the jury.

Merchan initially issued the gag order on March 26 and later expanded it to include comments about the magistrate's family after Trump targeted the judge's daughter Loren online. According to reports, the younger Merchan has close ties with the Democrats and has worked for the 2020 campaign of Vice President Kamala Harris.

"[The] order by … Merchan leaves in place portions of the unconstitutional gag order, preventing [former] President Trump from speaking freely about Judge Merchan's disqualifying conflicts and the overwhelming evidence exposing this whole Crooked Joe Biden-directed witch hunt," Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a June 25 statement.

"This is another unlawful decision by a highly conflicted judge, which is blatantly un-American as it gags [former] President Trump – the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election – during the upcoming presidential debate on Thursday. Trump and his legal team will immediately challenge [the] unconstitutional order."

Merchan's decision to ease Trump's gag order comes ahead of his debate with President Joe Biden on June 27, organized by CNN. The former president's July 11 sentencing also comes four days before the start of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump is expected to be formally nominated as the GOP's presidential nominee.

Head over to Trump.news for more stories about the former president.

Watch this clip about Judge Merchan's June 25 edict lifting parts of Donald Trump's gag order.

This video is from the NewsClips channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

ELECTION INTERFERENCE: Daughter of judge in Trump case boasts Kamala Harris, Adam Schiff as corporate clients.

Donald Trump's legal team demands lifting of gag order that prevents him from speaking freely about his trial.

Company run by Judge Merchan's daughter works for group pushing Trump ballot exclusion efforts.

Daughter of judge on Trump's "hush money" case posts a picture of Trump in jail after gag order.

SUPPRESSED: NY appeals court DECLINES Trump's request to overturn GAG order.

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