Appeals Court Upholds Trump Gag Order

Judges say jurors, witnesses should be 'free from threats, intimidation, harassment, and harm'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2024 3:12 PM CDT
Appeals Court Upholds Trump Gag Order
Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a lunch break during his trial at Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, May 14, 2024.   (Michael M. Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

As Michael Cohen testified for a second day in Donald Trump's hush-money trial in Manhattan on Tuesday, an appeals court denied the former president's attempt to overturn a gag order against him in the case. A five-judge New York appeals court panel rejected Trump's argument that the order issued by Judge Juan Merchan violated his First Amendment rights, the New York Times reports. Trump has regularly complained about the order, which bans him from making public remarks about many people involved with the case, including witnesses, jurors, and court staff, though the order doesn't cover Merchan or Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

Trump has said the order is unfair because it means he can't respond to testimony from witnesses including Cohen and Stormy Daniels, CNN reports. He told reporters Tuesday morning that he wasn't allowed to respond to their questions. "The gag order has to come off," he said. The court's decision said Merchan had "properly determined that petitioner's public statements posed a significant threat to the integrity of the testimony of witnesses and potential witnesses in this case as well," per the Hill.

The decision said Merchan had correctly balanced Trump's free speech rights against the "fair administration of justice" and the right of witnesses and jurors to be "free from threats, intimidation, harassment, and harm," the Times reports. Trump has been fined a total of $10,000 for violations of the gag order. Merchan has warned him that repeated violations could result in jail time. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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