Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg asks judge to order limited sanctions on Trump in hush money case

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Monday asked a judge to order limited sanctions against former President Donald Trump, who is accused of falsifying business records related to hush money given to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in New York.

In their request, prosecutors cited Trump's “long-standing and perhaps singular history” of attacking people he considers his adversaries, including people connected to his other criminal and civil cases.

The hearing in Trump's secret money case is scheduled to begin on March 25.

Trump is already under a limited gag order in his federal election interference case in Washington, D.C., and prosecutors in Manhattan are seeking a similar “narrowly tailored order that prohibits certain prejudicial extraordinary statements by the defendants.” “

The motion for a limited gag order on Trump's public statements includes an affidavit from NYPD Sgt. Nicholas Pistilli, Bragg's security chief, who noticed an “extraordinary surge” in threats against the DA after Trump began targeting him on social media.

The NYPD Threat Assessment and Protection Unit recorded 89 threats against the district attorney, his family or his office staff in 2023, the first of which occurred on the same day Trump posted on social media “Protest, take back our country!” Posted. According to the filing. In all of 2022, the same unit recorded just one threat against Bragg, the filing said.

According to the filing, nearly 600 phone calls and emails were sent to police for review in March 2023 alone.

The filing also included photos and screenshots of harassing messages, firearms and handwritten threats, which prosecutors said demonstrate the impact of Trump's social media posts and behavior.

In a statement to ABC News, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung pushed back on the request for a limited gag order, saying that, if granted, it would be “an unconstitutional infringement on President Trump's First Amendment rights, including his Including the ability to protect oneself.” And the right of all Americans to hear President Trump.”

The Manhattan DA's office also asked the judge to allow the now infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape to be played for the jury. Prosecutors argued that the tape is “highly relevant” to Trump's motive to pay off Daniels to hush up allegations of a long-denied affair.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo wrote, “The release of the tape – and concerns about its potential impact on the election – are thus directly related to the execution of Stormy Daniels, who was executed just weeks later.”

Trump's attorneys, in their own filings, argued against the release of the “Access Hollywood” tapes and other defense requests.

“Given the inherent bias and extremely limited probative value of the Access Hollywood recording, the Court should bar evidence regarding the recording at trial,” the defense argued, stating that playing the tape would be “inflammatory”; It will offer limited pricing to jurors; and that “it has no place in this trial about documentation and accounting practices.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts in the money laundering case and has criticized Bragg and Judge Juan Marchan as well as witnesses, including Trump's former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.

,[Trump] “He has a long history of making public and inflammatory comments about participants, including jurors, witnesses, attorneys, and court staff, in various judicial proceedings against him,” prosecutors said in their filing. He said Trump's comments “pose a significant and imminent threat to the United States.” “The orderly administration of these criminal proceedings.”

In a series of motions filed Monday, prosecutors also asked the judge to prevent the defense from presenting evidence or arguments about Cohen's credibility. Cohen was charged with perjury while testifying in Trump's civil fraud trial in October.

The defense responded in its filing, “Michael Cohen is a liar.” “He recently committed perjury, on the stand and under oath, in a civil trial involving President Trump. If his public statements are any indication, he plans to do so again in this criminal trial.”

The judge in Trump's civil fraud trial also imposed a limited restraining order on Trump, barring the former president from making comments about court employees.

In the hush money case, the Manhattan DA's office wants the judge to bar Trump from making public statements about witnesses, jurors, court staff and prosecutors other than Bragg.

“As other courts have found, these appropriate prophylactic measures are necessary because of defendant's past conduct and the risk of adverse impact on pending proceedings if appropriate protective steps are not taken,” prosecutors wrote. “The relief requested here is designed to protect the integrity of the upcoming litigation, while still providing the defendants an adequate opportunity to make a speech, including a speech, about this case.”

In their filing, defense attorneys also requested that Judge Merchen block Daniels from being called as a witness, arguing that his testimony would provide little relevance while adding unnecessary levity to the trial.

“Like Cohen, she seeks to tell fabricated stories with salacious details of events that occurred nearly 20 years ago, which have no place in a trial involving the charges at issue,” defense attorneys wrote.

He sought to limit Trump's past statements – including his previous books – to evidence, arguing that his argument has little relevance and would cause confusion.

“Whatever President Trump's style of business operations…there is no possibility that he would have operated those businesses differently than when he was President of the United States,” the lawyers wrote.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are also seeking a protective order that would bar them from disclosing juror names to anyone other than Trump and his lawyers.

Trump pleaded not guilty last April to a 34-count indictment accusing him of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment made to Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election .

The former president has denied all wrongdoing.

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