Trump Asks NY High Court to Intervene in Gag Order Fight

( – Former President Donald Trump is currently in the middle of his first criminal trial, marking a first in the United States. He’s facing 34 felonies for falsifying business records. Shortly before the trial began, Judge Juan Merchan issued a gag order against the defendant, barring him from intimidating court staff, witnesses, potential witnesses, and their families. Trump appealed the order, claiming the order was unconstitutional — he lost at the appellate level.

On May 15, the defendant’s attorneys filed a notice of their intent to appeal the decision to the New York Court of Appeals. While the document itself was listed on the court docket, it was sealed, so the arguments in favor of the gag order lift are unclear. The court now has to decide whether it will even take up the matter. Meanwhile, defendant Trump believes his First Amendment rights have been infringed and is looking for a remedy from the higher court.

Trump’s campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung claimed that Merchan’s order was not only unconstitutional but “un-American.” He also called the case against Trump “lawless.” Cheung was appalled at Judge Merchan for indicating that he could throw the defendant in jail if he violates his gag order again. He called the threat from the judge a “Third World authoritarian tactic,” indicating that Merchan was using the same tactics he claimed President Joe Biden and his “comrades” use.

Trump has already been fined the maximum amount for 10 gag order violations in this case — $1,000 per violation. But Merchan’s patience has worn thin, as he stated incarceration is on the table for future violations. While the judge admitted he didn’t want to do that, he would if necessary.

Gag orders are used in criminal trials to protect the integrity of the case and ensure justice is served without interference. The Free Speech Center at Tennessee State University states that judges need a compelling reason to issue such an order.

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