Manhattan DA asks judge to order restraining order in Trump's hush money case before next month's hearing


NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors Donald TrumpA New York hush-money criminal case asked a judge on Monday to order a ban on the former president ahead of a hearing next month, citing his long history of making “public and inflammatory comments” about people involved in his legal cases. Told “History”. ,

The Manhattan District Attorney's office is seeking a “narrowly tailored” order that would bar Trump from making public statements about potential witnesses and jurors or giving instructions to others, as well as interfering with court staff. Or will even make disturbing statements. The prosecution team or their families.

A gag order will be added to the restrictions imposed after Trump's conviction last April, which prevents him from using evidence in the case to attack witnesses.

Prosecutors said, without limitation, Trump's rhetoric would “pose a significant and imminent threat to litigation by distracting personnel, diverting government resources, and delaying the administration of justice.”

The judge, Juan Manuel Merchan, did not immediately issue a verdict. Jury selection is scheduled to begin March 25. Barring a last-minute delay, this would be the first of Trump's four criminal cases to go to trial.

A spokesperson for Trump's presidential campaign called the gag order request “election interference pure and simple” and called the hush money affair “a sham organized by partisan Democrats desperately trying to prevent Trump from returning to the White House.”

Trump's lawyer Susan Nechels said the defense would respond in court papers later this week.

The Manhattan case centers on allegations that Trump falsified internal records kept by his company to conceal the true nature of payments made to his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. Lawyer paid porn actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 as part of an effort to suppress claims she had extramarital sex during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, which carry a prison sentence of up to four years, though there is no guarantee that a conviction will result in prison time.

Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, has repeatedly criticized the case on social media and warned of “potential death and destruction” before his impeachment last year, posting a photo on social media of He is holding a baseball bat next to a photograph. District Attorney Alvin Bragg and complaining that the judge, Juan Manuel Merchan, is a “Trump-hating judge” and that his family is full of “Trump-haters.”

Trump is already under a similar gag order in his Washington, D.C., election interference criminal case and a ban imposed in his New York civil fraud trial after he made an offensive social media post about the judge's chief law clerk. He was fined $15,000 for violating the order twice. , In January, a Manhattan federal judge threatened Trump with expulsion from the court in a civil lawsuit over author E. Jean Carroll's defamation claims after he was heard saying “this is a witchcraft” and “this Truly a fraudulent operation.”

“Self-regulation is not a viable option, as defendant's recent history makes clear,” prosecutors wrote in court papers. Trump “has a long and perhaps unique history of using social media, campaign speeches and other public statements to attack judges, jurors, lawyers, witnesses and other individuals involved in legal proceedings against him,” he said.

In a statement, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said: “Today, the 2-tier system of justice implemented against President Trump is on full display, with yet another deranged Democrat prosecutor's request for a restrictive gag order. which, if granted, would constitute an unconstitutional infringement on President Trump's First Amendment rights, including his ability to defend himself and the rights of all Americans to hear President Trump speak.”

The requested gag order would not prevent Trump from making comments about Bragg, a Democrat.

Still, prosecutors argue that Trump's hostility to Bragg — including Truth Social posts calling Manhattan's first Black DA a “degenerate psychopath” who “hates the USA” — has influenced the prosecutor and the district attorney. Threats against the office have increased.

Last year, prosecutors said, police recorded 89 threats to Bragg, his family or staff, up from just one threat in 2022, his first year in office. According to an affidavit from the chief of the Bragg Police Department, the wave of threats began on March 18, the day Trump falsely posted online that he was about to be arrested and called on supporters to protest and “take our country back.” Was encouraged to take!

A few days later, prosecutors noted, Bragg's office received a letter containing a small amount of white powder and a note: “Alvin: I'm going to kill you.”

Trump has referred to his former lawyer Cohen, a key witness in the case, as a “convicted criminal, discredited lawyer with zero credibility” and has posted posts mocking Daniels, the porn actor who received one of the alleged hush money payments. .

The gag order request on Monday mirrored parts of an order imposed on Trump in October in his separate Washington federal case, where he is accused of planning to overturn the results of his 2020 election loss to Democratic rival Joe Biden .

A federal appeals court panel in December largely upheld Judge Tanya Chutkan's gag order, but limited it in a significant way by freeing Trump to criticize Jack Smith, the special counsel who brought the case. Manhattan prosecutors reiterated that decision by excluding Bragg from their proposed gag order.

Last May, Marchan issued a protective order warning Trump and his lawyers that if they disseminated evidence from the secret money case to third parties, it could be used to attack witnesses or post sensitive material on social media. If they do, they may have to face contempt.

Noting Trump's “special” status as a former president and current candidate, Merchan tried to clarify at the time that the protective order should not be interpreted as a gag order, saying: “Definitely. “It is not my intention to hinder in any way Mr. Trump’s ability to campaign for the presidency of the United States.”

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Associated Press reporter Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report. ,

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