The Manhattan district attorney wants a gag order on Trump and wants to play the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape during the trial

(Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

The Manhattan district attorney wants a gag order on Trump and wants to play the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape during the trial


February 27, 2024

Prosecutors in the New York hush-money criminal case asked a judge Monday to impose a silence order on the former president ahead of next month’s trial, citing what they called his long history of making public and inflammatory comments about people who were involved in his lawsuits. .

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is seeking what it describes as a tailor-made order that would bar Trump from making public statements or directing others to make public statements about potential witnesses and jurors, as well as statements intended to obstruct or harass court personnel and the prosecution. team or their families.

Prosecutors are also seeking permission to show jurors the infamous Access Hollywood video, made public in the final weeks of Trump’s 2016 White House campaign, in which he brags about grabbing women’s genitals unsolicited.



Prosecutors allege that the release of the 2005 footage, followed by a wave of women coming forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault, hastened his efforts to keep negative stories out of the press, leading to one of the hush-money schemes that are central to politics. case.

Trump’s lawyers wrote in court filings Monday that the “Access Hollywood” video contains inflammatory and unnecessarily prejudicial evidence that has no place in this trial about documents and accounting practices.

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The judge, Juan Manuel Merchan, did not immediately rule on the requests. Jury selection is expected to begin on March 25. Barring a last-minute delay, this will be the first of Trump’s four criminal cases to go to trial.

Imposing a silence order on Trump would add to restrictions put in place after his arraignment last April that ban him from using evidence in the case to attack witnesses. Prosecutors are also proposing that juror names be kept secret from the public to “minimize obstacles to jury selection and protect the safety of jurors.”

Without limits, prosecutors said, Trump’s rhetoric would create a significant and imminent threat to the process by distracting staff, diverting government resources and delaying the administration of justice.

A spokesperson for Trump’s presidential campaign called the gag order request election interference, pure and simple, and called the hush money case a sham orchestrated by partisan Democrats desperately trying to prevent Trump from returning to the White House.

Trump attorney Susan Necheles said the defense will respond in court filings later this week.

The Manhattan case centers on allegations that Trump falsified his company’s internal records to conceal the true nature of payments to his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. The lawyer paid adult film actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 as part of an effort during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to bury claims that he had extramarital sexual encounters.

Trump was ordered to stand trial in the New York hush money case in March 2024

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying corporate records, a crime punishable by up to four years in prison, although there is no guarantee a conviction would result in prison time.

Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, has repeatedly lashed out about the case on social media, warning of possible death and destruction before his indictment last year, and posting a photo on social media of himself holding a baseball bat next to a photo of Dist. . Atty. Alvin Bragg and complaining about that

the judge

Merchan is a Trump-hating judge with a family full of Trump haters.

Trump has already imposed a similar silence order in his criminal election interference case in Washington DC and was fined $15,000 for twice violating a silence order imposed in his civil fraud trial in New York after making a disparaging social media post about the chief judge.


clerk. In January, a federal judge in Manhattan threatened Trump with removal from court in a civil lawsuit litigating writer E. Jean Carroll’s defamation claims against him after he was heard saying it was a witch hunt and that it was actually a scam.

Self-regulation is not a viable alternative, as the defendants’ recent history makes clear, plaintiffs wrote in court filings. Trump, they said, has a long and perhaps unique history of using social media, campaign speeches and other public statements to attack judges, jurors, attorneys, witnesses and other individuals involved in legal proceedings against him.”

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In a statement, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said: “Today the two-tiered justice system implemented against President Trump is on full display, with another deranged Democratic prosecutor’s request for a restrictive silence order, which if granted, would impose a ban . unconstitutional violation of President Trump’s First Amendment rights, including his ability to defend himself, and the rights of all Americans to hear from President Trump.”

The requested gag order would not prevent Trump from commenting on Bragg, an elected Democrat.

Still, prosecutors allege that Trump’s enmity toward Bragg, including Truth Social posts calling Manhattan’s first black district attorney a degenerate psychopath who hates the U.S., has led to a spike in threats against the prosecutor and the office of the public prosecutor.

Last year, prosecutors said, police recorded 89 threats against Bragg, his family or staff, compared with just a single threat in 2022, his first year in office. The wave of threats began on March 18, according to an affidavit from the Bragg Police Chief, the day Trump falsely posted online that he was about to be arrested and encouraged his supporters to protest and take our nation back to take!

A few days later, prosecutors noted, Bragg’s office received a letter containing a small amount of white powder and a note that read: Alvin: I’m going to kill you.

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Trump has referred to a key witness in the case, his former lawyer Cohen, as a convicted felon, disbarred attorney, with “no credibility whatsoever” and has posted posts mocking Daniels.

The request for a gag order on Monday mirrored parts of an order imposed on Trump in October in his separate federal case in Washington accusing him of plotting to overturn the results of his 2020 election loss to Democratic rival Joe Biden to make.

A federal appeals court panel in December largely upheld Judge Tanya Chutkan’s ban, but narrowed it in a major way by giving Trump the freedom to criticize special counsel Jack Smith, who brought the case. Prosecutors in Manhattan echoed that ruling by excluding Bragg from their proposed silence order.

Last May, Merchan issued a so-called protective order, warning Trump and his lawyers that they risked being held in contempt if they distributed evidence from the hush money case to third parties, used it to attack witnesses or posted sensitive material on social media would post.

Merchan, noting Trump’s special status as a former president and current candidate, tried to make clear at the time that the protection order should not be construed as a gag order, saying, “It is certainly not my intention to in any way undermine the policy of to hinder Mr. Trump. opportunity to campaign for the presidency of the United States.

Associated Press reporter Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.


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