Defense Attorney Claims Gag Order Hinders Trump’s Response to Political Attacks

In a courtroom update on Thursday, Defense attorney Todd Blanche asserted that the existing gag order severely restricts former President Donald Trump from addressing political criticisms, including recent remarks from President Joe Biden. The prohibition extends not only to comments made by witnesses but also encompasses statements made by figures such as Biden, as noted during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over the case, deliberated over four additional potential breaches of the gag order, focusing on Trump’s comments regarding witnesses and the jury. Blanche highlighted Biden’s recent quip about “stormy weather,” referring to the ongoing trial involving Stormy Daniels.

Blanche presented evidence of provocative statements by Michael Cohen, a key witness for the prosecution, which he argued goaded Trump into responding. He emphasized the importance of considering events predating the gag order, citing Cohen’s history of attacking Trump dating back to the announcement of his presidential campaign in 2022.

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy pressed for consequences, urging the judge to take action against Trump for allegedly violating the gag order during the trial. Conroy emphasized the significance of the timing of Trump’s statements, particularly in relation to Cohen’s testimony, which he deemed central to the proceedings.

Merchan had previously fined Trump for initial violations of the gag order and cautioned him about potential jail time for future breaches. Prosecutors initially sought maximum penalties for ten violations in a filing submitted on April 18.

The gag order, instituted by Merchan in late March, prohibits Trump from discussing various trial-related individuals and topics, including witnesses, prosecutors, court staff, jurors, and their family members.

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