Trump’s Gag Order Challenge Denied In Appeals Court

Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to challenge Judge Juan Merchan’s gag order against him in his hush-money trial has been shot down, as a New York appeals court ruled against his bid on Tuesday.

While Merchan said that public statements regarding the case must be regulated to prevent witness intimidation, Trump argued that the gag order placed on him violates his First Amendment rights.

In its Tuesday ruling, the appeals court said, “We find that Justice Merchan properly weighed petitioner’s First Amendment Rights against the court’s historical commitment to ensuring the fair administration of justice in criminal cases, and the right of persons related or tangentially related to the criminal proceedings from being free from threats, intimidation, harassment, and harm.”

“Justice Merchan 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,” the court added.

Trump has already been fined 10 times for violating the gag order which prevents him from speaking publicly about jurors, court staff, attorneys and the judge’s family.

When he issued the 10th fine against Trump last Monday, Merchan told Trump that he would “consider” incarceratory punishment for Trump if he violates the gag order.

“The last thing I want to consider is jail. You are [the] former president and possibly the next president,” Merchan stated, adding, “The magnitude of that decision is not lost on me. Your continued willful violation of the court’s order … constitutes a direct attack … and will not be allowed to continue.”

Trump spoke against Merchan’s gag order after his strong warning last week. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he said, “I have to watch every word I tell you people. You ask me a question, a simple question, I’d like to give [an answer], but I can’t talk about it. Because this judge is giving me a gag order and said you’ll go to jail if you violate it.”

“And frankly, you know what, our Constitution is much more important than jail. It’s not even close. I’ll do that sacrifice any day,” he added.

The Republican president also blasted the gag order before entering the courthouse for Tuesday’s trial.

“You ask me questions [and] I’m not allowed to respond. The gag order has to come off,” he added.