July 21, 2024

Trump’s Attorneys Request to Have Gag Order Lifted After Guilty Verdict, Before Presidential Debate

Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys are requesting to have a gag order imposed on him during his business records trial lifted in the aftermath of his guilty verdict and ahead of a presidential debate at the end of June.

Todd Blanche, Trump’s attorney, wrote a letter on Monday to Judge Juan Merchan, who had overseen Trump’s trial, arguing that the gag order should be lifted in light of Trump’s recent conviction.

On Thursday, a Manhattan jury found the former president guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records concerning payments, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, had made to adult entertainment star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election.

“Now that the trial is concluded, the concerns articulated by the government and the Court do not justify continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump – who remains the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election – and the American people,” Blanche wrote in his letter, obtained by Axios.

Merchan imposed a gag order on the former president on March 26, which barred Trump from speaking publicly against witnesses and counsel, except for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, court staff, family members of court staff, as well as staff of Bragg’s.

At the end of April, Merchan ordered the former president to remove “seven” posts from his Truth Social, after ruling that Trump had violated a gag order. Trump was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for nine violations of the gag order.

Blanche continued to point out in the letter that, “the constitutional mandate for unrestrained campaign advocacy by President Trump is even stronger” due to the fact that President Joe Biden’s campaign had held a campaign event outside the Manhattan courthouse on May 28, with actor Robert De Niro, and due to the upcoming presidential debate between Biden and Trump on June 27.

In his letter, Blanche also referred to how Biden had made “public comments regarding the jury’s verdict,” and how there were “continued public attacks” against Trump by Cohen and Daniels, who had been witnesses in the trial.

Trump’s sentencing will occur four days before the Republican Party holds its national convention on July 15.

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