Trump Says Judge Should Remove Gag Order as Day 2 of Criminal Trial Begins

The former president made several comments on Day two of his New York criminal trial, saying he should be campaigning in Pennsylvania and Florida.

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized the judge overseeing the “hush-money” case in Manhattan, coming before he attended his second day in court, and said that a gag order that was imposed on him should be removed.

“This conflicted, Trump Hating Judge won’t let me respond to people that are on TV lying and spewing hate all day long. He is running rough shod over my lawyers and legal team. The New York System of ‘Justice’ is being decimated by critics from all over the World. I want to speak, or at least be able to respond. Election Interference! RIGGED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL TRIAL! Take off the Gag Order!!!” the former president wrote on Truth Social before he entered court Tuesday.

The former president added that he should be campaigning for the White House instead of being in court.

“I should be in Pennsylvania, Florida, in many other states,” President Trump told reporters at the Manhattan court. “This is all coming from the Biden White House because the guy can’t put two sentences together.”

The trial, he added, “never should have happened” and “should have been thrown out a long time ago.” Responding to the charges against him, President Trump said that he was “paying a lawyer and it was marked down as a legal expense. That’s exact.”

On Monday, the former president’s attorneys again attempted to push Judge Juan Merchan to recuse himself, which he again rejected. The judge said that he would not consider the matter until the appeals court process plays out.

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The judge also told President Trump that he needs to show up for court every day it is in session or he’ll face “an arrest.” Court papers have signaled that the trial will last about eight weeks.

In the case, Manhattan prosecutors accuse former President Trump of falsifying business records to allegedly cover up payments to adult performer Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, to suppress her claims that they were involved in an extramarital relationship in 2006. President Trump denies there was any affair and has accused her of lying.

He’s also pleaded not guilty to the 34 counts of falsifying business records, arguing that the case is a form of election interference as he campaigns for the presidency.

Judge Merchan earlier this year imposed a gag order that limits President Trump from speaking about witnesses, potential witnesses, or the jurors in the case. The judge later extended the gag order to members of his family after the former president wrote on social media that Judge Merchan’s daughter works as a Democratic Party consultant and that the judge, therefore, has a conflict of interest.

Prosecutors on Monday pushed the judge to fine President Trump for several posts he has made in recent days about the case, including a post about former Trump lawyer and possible witness Michael Cohen. The judge said he would consider the matter at a later date.

The 45th president had argued that he should be allowed to respond to Mr. Cohen, who frequently criticizes the former president in the media and on social media. Mr. Cohen likely will testify in the case as prosecutors have alleged that the so-called hush-money payments to Ms. Clifford were made through him.

Lawyers for President Trump will likely target Mr. Cohen as an unreliable witness during the trial by focusing on Mr. Cohen’s conviction for making false statements to Congress, tax evasion, and campaign-finance violations. The former attorney was sentenced to three years in a federal prison and his law license was later stripped.

Former President Donald Trump attends the first day of his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 15, 2024. (Angela Weiss/Pool/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump attends the first day of his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 15, 2024. (Angela Weiss/Pool/Getty Images)

Also on Monday, jury selection for the trial was initiated. At one point, the judge asked 96 potential jurors who were seated about whether they could render an impartial judgment, and more than half raised their hand to signal that they could not. The judge then dismissed those who said they couldn’t be impartial.

Later, a woman was asked by the judge: “Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former president Donald Trump, or the fact that he is a current candidate for president, that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?” She simply said “yes” and was dismissed by the judge.

In another instance, the judge re-affirmed to prosecutors that an “Access Hollywood” tape that includes President Trump’s comments cannot be played aloud to the jury. He also ruled that allegations that were made after the tape surfaced in October 2016 could not be brought in the trial, as prosecutors had sought.

However, the judge did allow for testimony from a former model, Karen McDougal, to be used in the trial, which President Trump’s lawyers had objected to. President Trump denied Ms. McDougal’s claims that they were involved in an affair years ago.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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