Donald Trump Seeks NY High Court Help to Lift Gag Order in Hush Money Case

Legal showdown intensifies over Trump's trial commentary restrictions.

by Nouman Rasool
Donald Trump Seeks NY High Court Help to Lift Gag Order in Hush Money Case
© Curtis Means - Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump is raising the stakes in his legal battles as he goes into the New York supreme court in a last-ditch attempt to overturn a bitter argument over a gag order related to his hush money trial. Trump's attorneys appealed the case moments after the state's appellate court issued a ruling that kept intact the restrictions that have already cost him $10,000 in sanctions and left him facing the prospect of being thrown behind bars if he continued discussing witnesses, jurors, and others involved in the case.

The specifics of the appeal were not immediately released because the documents were sealed. In a striking statement, Trump's campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung criticized the gag order as "unconstitutional and un-American," attributing it to Judge Juan Merchan, whom he claims is biased in what he describes as a "lawless Manhattan DA case." Cheung's remarks reflect the campaign's view that the legal actions against Trump, a prominent figure in the 2024 presidential race, resemble "Third World authoritarian tactics" allegedly employed by President Joe Biden and his associates.

Appellate Upholds Gag Order

The Appellate Division, comprising a five-judge panel, recently upheld Judge Merchan's decision, agreeing that Trump's public comments could significantly undermine the integrity of witness testimonies.

The gag order specifically bars Trump from making or coordinating statements about key witnesses, including Michael Cohen, his former attorney turned adversary, who continues to be a central figure in the proceedings. The Manhattan District Attorney's office, now under the leadership of Alvin Bragg, declined to comment on the prosecution process was going on at that point.

Additionally, Trump's recent conduct has been notably restrained following Judge Merchan's warning that further violations of the gag order could lead to jail time. This restraint came after Merchan cited multiple instances where Trump disparaged Cohen and other involved parties, contributing to his decision to enforce the gag order more stringently.

This gag order was initially put in place to mitigate Trump's frequent attacks on those associated with his legal cases. It was expanded shortly after to include prohibitions against commenting on the judge's family following Trump's inflammatory remarks about Merchan's daughter, who is a Democratic political consultant.

Donald Trump