Gag Order Limits Trump's Attacks on Judge's Daughter in New York Case

Gag Order Limits Trump’s Attacks on Judge’s Daughter in New York Case

On Monday, a judge in New York prohibited former President Donald Trump from discussing the judge’s family in public.

The Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecutors requested that Judge Juan Merchan extend a previous gag order in the case by “making clear that the court’s family is off-limits.” Merchan granted the request.

The remarks on his daughter, Merchan finally concluded, would “undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

“The average observer must now, after hearing Defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but their loved ones,” Merchan concluded . “Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

In a statement to CBS News, Trump’s presidential campaign spokeswoman Steven Cheung referred to the recent gag order as “unconstitutional” and said it forbids him “from engaging in core political speech.”

Echoing a claim made by Trump’s attorneys, Cheung stated, “Worst of all, the gag order violates the civil rights of over 100 million Americans who support President Trump and have a First Amendment right to receive and listen to his speech.”

Before and after Judge Merchan issued a gag order on March 26, limiting Trump’s ability to speak about the parties to the trial scheduled for April 15, the president made multiple references to Judge Merchan’s daughter on social media.

Though he was free to criticize Bragg and Merchan, Trump was prohibited from making comments about possible witnesses in the case, prospective jurors, court personnel, attorneys in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, and the relatives of any counsel or court official.

Rather, Trump directed his fury on Merchan’s daughter, criticizing her employment for a Democratic consulting firm, pointing to a piece that featured a picture of her, and asserting that she had shared a Photoshopped image of him in prison.

Al Baker, a court representative, refuted the assertion, stating that the picture was the product of a “manipulation of an account she long ago abandoned.”

In an attempt to stop the gag order from being extended, Baker’s rebuttal was emphasized by Trump’s legal team, who accused Merchan on Monday of utilizing “the Office of Court Administration to respond to media reports relating to Your Honor’s daughter.”

In the brief, they also said that they would ask Merchan to recuse himself from the case a second time, citing Merchan’s improper participation in a recent Associated Press interview.

Beyond describing his preparation as “intense” and noting that he is working “to make sure that I’ve done everything I could to be prepared and to make sure that we dispense justice,” Merchan declined to comment on the trial during the interview.

Reimbursements for a “hush money” payment made by his former attorney to an adult film star just days prior to the 2016 presidential election are at the center of this issue.

Trump has entered a not guilty plea to the 34 felony counts of falsifying company documents in the case, denies all allegations, and claims the charges are political retaliation.