Lawyers Urge Lifting of Gag Order After Trump’s Guilty Verdict in New York Criminal Case

President Donald Trump’s lawyers argue the order imposed in March amounts to a continued violation of his First Amendment rights.

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have asked the judge who presided over his business records falsification criminal trial in New York to lift a gag order banning him from commenting on court staff, witnesses, prosecutors, jurors, and others tied to the criminal case.

In a letter sent to Justice Juan Merchan on June 3, attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove argued the order imposed on their client in March amounts to a continued violation of his First Amendment rights.

Because the trial is now over, the gag order is no longer needed, President Trump’s lawyers further argued.

“Now that the trial is concluded, the concerns articulated by the government and the Court do not justify continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump—who remains the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election—and the American people,” his lawyers wrote.

Attorneys for President Trump also cited recent actions by President Joe Biden’s campaign—including its decision to hold a press conference outside the New York court during closing arguments in President Trump’s trial—as one reason the gag order should be lifted.
They further noted recent statements made by President Biden’s campaign regarding the jury’s verdict in the case in which they referred to his Republican rival as a “convicted felon.”

‘Public Attacks’ on Trump

The “constitutional mandate for unrestrained campaign advocacy” by President Trump is even stronger in light of these actions and remarks by the Biden-Harris campaign, his attorneys wrote.

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Elsewhere, lawyers for President Trump pointed to continued “public attacks” of their client by two key witnesses in the case: Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and associate, and Stephanie Clifford, better known as adult entertainment actress Stormy Daniels.

Additionally, attorneys for President Trump contended the gag order must be removed so he is free to speak openly about the case and his connection at the first presidential debate, which is scheduled to take place on June 27.

Lawyers for President Trump have repeatedly sought to lift the gag order placed on their client in March just weeks before the trial began, arguing it restricts his “ability to engage in protected political speech” and could “have some adverse impact on his campaign.”

However, Justice Merchan later expanded the gag order to prohibit President Trump from making comments about his own family and fined President Trump $10,000 for allegedly violating the order. He also threatened the former U.S. leader with jail time if he continued to violate his order.

Jury Delivers Guilty Verdict

The letter comes shortly after President Trump was found guilty by the jury in the New York criminal trial of 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree after prosecutors alleged he attempted to conceal non-disclosure payments of $130,000 to Ms. Clifford during his 2016 campaign.

President Trump—who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing—is the first former president convicted of a crime.

He is scheduled to be sentenced July 11.

In the wake of his guilty verdict, lawyers for President Trump have said their client would likely appeal his felony conviction with the U.S. Supreme Court, while President Trump has himself called on the nation’s highest court to intervene.
Taking to his Truth Social platform on June 2, the former U.S. leader claimed he had been sentenced despite “not having done anything wrong,” noting the July 11 sentencing date is just four days before the Republican National Convention is set to take place.

He further took aim at Justice Merchan, whom he said is only an “acting local judge” who was “appointed by the Democrats” and is “highly conflicted.”

The former president wrote that the court’s decision will “determine the future of our nation.”

“The United States Supreme Court MUST DECIDE!” he concluded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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