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News / Nation & World

With trial starting next month, Manhattan DA asks judge for a gag order in Trump’s hush-money case

By MICHAEL R. SISAK, Associated Press
Published: February 26, 2024, 11:55am

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s New York hush-money criminal case asked a judge Monday to impose a gag order on the former president ahead of next month’s trial, citing his “long history of making public and inflammatory remarks” about people involved in his legal cases.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office asked for what they called a “narrowly tailored” gag order that would bar Trump from making or directing others to make public statements about potential witnesses and jurors, as well as statements meant to interfere with or harass the court’s staff, prosecution team or their families. The request excludes comments about the district attorney, Alvin Bragg.

Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin March 25. The judge, Juan Manuel Merchan, didn’t immediately rule. Messages seeking comment were left with Trump’s lawyers.

“Self-regulation is not a viable alternative, as defendant’s recent history makes plain,” prosecutors wrote in court papers. Trump, they said, “has a longstanding and perhaps singular history” of using social media, campaign speeches and other public statements to “attack individuals that he considers to be adversaries.”

Trump is already subject to a gag order in his federal case in Washington charging him with scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

That order was initially imposed in October by the judge overseeing the case and largely upheld by a federal appeals panel two months later, though the court did narrow the initial speech restrictions by giving Trump license to criticize the special counsel who brought the case.

Trump was also under a limited gag order in his New York civil fraud trial and was fined $15,000 for twice violating it. Judge Arthur Engoron imposed the gag order on Oct. 3 after Trump made a disparaging social media post about his chief law clerk.