Judge Merchan Partially Lifts Trump’s Gag Order, Still Prevents Him From Criticizing Bragg’s Team

Judge Juan Merchan partially lifted the gag order on former President Donald Trump Tuesday ahead of the first presidential debate, but left in place key restrictions preventing Trump from criticizing certain prosecutors.

Merchan lifted the portions of the order preventing Trump from making statements about witnesses and jurors. Trump’s attorneys urged Merchan earlier this month to lift the order, arguing the concerns expressed by Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office “do not justify restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump” now that the trial has concluded.

Trump is now free to discuss witnesses like Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen but still cannot comment on other individuals included in the order, including prosecutors on Bragg’s team, until his sentence is imposed. The remaining restrictions prevent him from talking about Matthew Colangelo, who spent two years at the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) before joining Bragg’s office in December 2022.

“Until sentence is imposed, all individuals covered by Paragraph (b) must continue to perform their lawful duties free from threats, intimidation, harassment, and harm,” Merchan wrote.

Individuals Trump still cannot discuss publicly include “(1) counsel in the case other than the District Attorney, (2) members of the court’s staff and the District Attorney’s staff, or (3) the family members of any counsel or staff member,” according to the order.

Merchan expanded the gag order in April to clarify Trump could not make statements about family members of staff and counsel after Trump criticized Merchan’s daughter on Truth Social.

Merchan’s daughter runs a political consulting firm that works with Democratic clients, including California Rep. Adam Schiff and the Senate Majority PAC. Since they started referencing Trump’s case in fundraising emails, those clients have raised $93 million in donations, the New York Post reported in March.

Trump’s sentencing is scheduled for July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention.

The first presidential debate between President Joe Biden and Trump is scheduled for Thursday. Trump was convicted in May on 34 counts of falsifying business records.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

AUTHOR

KATELYNN RICHARDSON

Contributor.

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