US Judge expands Donald Trump’s gag order in hush money case, puts court and DA’s family members out of bounds

The original gag order barred former US President Donald Trump from making public statements about jurors, witnesses and others connected to the case. The expansion on April 1 now includes family members of the court and the DA's office.

Livemint, Written By Jocelyn Fernandes
Updated2 Apr 2024, 06:52 AM IST
File Photo of former US President Donald Trump: A US Judge has expanded his gag order in the hush money case, preventing him from making remarks about family members of the court and DA's office
File Photo of former US President Donald Trump: A US Judge has expanded his gag order in the hush money case, preventing him from making remarks about family members of the court and DA’s office(Reuters / Shannon Stapleton )

United States Judge Juan M Merchan has on April 1 expanded the gag order in Donald Trump's hush money case to include family members of the court and the District Attorney's office, as per reports.

The move came days after Trump assailed and made false claims about Judge Marchan's daughter Loren Merchan on social media, AP reported. The original gag order had barred the former US president from making public statements about jurors, witnesses and others connected to the case.

“This pattern of attacking family members of presiding jurists and attorneys assigned to his cases serves no legitimate purpose. It merely injects fear in those assigned or called to participate in the proceedings that not only they, but their family members as well, are ‘fair game,’ for Defendant's vitriol," Marchan wrote.

This extension of the gag order mirrors a similar measure in Trump's Washington, D.C., election interference case, where the prohibition also encompasses remarks intended to disrupt or harass court personnel or their families.

What Prompted The Gag Order Expansion?

Trump took to his Truth social media platform to allege that Loren Merchan “makes money by working to ‘Get Trump’” and falsely accused her of posting a photo of him behind bars on social media, the report said. Loren Merchan is a Democratic political consultant, it added.

While prosecutors advocated for an expansion of the gag order, Trump's legal team contended that his remarks were protected political speech.

Implications and Trial Details

Criticisms of Manhattan District Attorney and elected Democrat Alvin Bragg remain permissible, though comments about Bragg's family are now expressly prohibited.

Any breach of the gag order could result in contempt of court charges against Trump, potentially leading to fines or imprisonment.

The 'hush money trial', concerning accusations of Trump falsifying payment records to conceal negative publicity during his 2016 presidential campaign, is set to commence on April 15. Trump maintains his innocence, denying any wrongdoing in the face of 34 counts of falsifying business records.

(With inputs from AP)

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First Published:2 Apr 2024, 06:52 AM IST
HomeNewsworldUS Judge expands Donald Trump’s gag order in hush money case, puts court and DA’s family members out of bounds

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