Trump seeks lifting of gag order after conviction in hush money case

Justice Merchan had earlier barred Trump from making public statements before hush money trial began in April

Web Desk
Former U.S. President Donald Trump pumps a fist outside Trump Tower after the verdict in his criminal trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in New York City on May 30, 2024. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Former US president Donald Trump has requested the court to lift a ban slapped on him in his hush money case.

The former president's appeal comes after he was convicted last week on charges related to payments he made to an adult actress Stormy Daniels.

In his verdict, Justice Juan Merchan barred Trump from making public statements before the trial began in April. Prosecutors argued that the gag order was necessary due to Trump's history of making potentially threatening remarks.

Todd Blanche, Trump's lawyer, wrote in a letter dated June 3, "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."

Daniels claimed that the payment was to keep her silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. However, he denies the charges.

Trump has vowed to appeal the conviction. He has often called the gag order an unconstitutional infringement on his right to free speech.

A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg did not immediately comment on the request.

During the trial, Merchan fined Trump $1,000 for each of ten violations of the gag order. One violation involved a social media post calling Cohen a "serial liar," and another was an interview where Trump claimed, "that jury was picked so fast - 95% Democrats."

Justice Merchan warned Trump on May 6 that he could end up in jail in case he violated the gag order again.

Blanche, in his letter, also mentioned that President Joe Biden had publicly commented on the verdict and that Cohen and Daniels continued to attack Trump in public. He argued that the gag order should be lifted to ensure fairness.