For the first time in US history, a presidential candidate on the campaign trail will be barred from defending himself against political charges in a criminal trial.
Former President Donald Trump has been barred from publicly posting certain evidence in the hush money case against him on social media, according to an order issued by New York State Judge Juan Merchan.
The order largely grants a request from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg that limits what Trump can publicly reveal about the prosecution’s new evidence before the case goes to trial.
“Donald J. Trump has a long and perhaps unique history of attacking witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, trial juries, grand juries, judges and others involved in legal proceedings against him, putting those people and their families at risk considerable amount of security,” the DA’s office argued in a court filing last month.
“The defendant has a constitutional right to speak publicly about this case, and the People do not seek to infringe that right,” their filing said.
Trump’s lawyers argued in a filing last week that the prosecutor’s proposed order would violate his constitutional rights.
“The proposed People’s Protection Order violates President Trump’s First Amendment right to freely discuss his own character and qualifications for federal office and the American people’s First Amendment rights to be heard President Trump’s side of the story,” he said.
The order prohibits anyone who has access to the evidence given to the Trump team from disseminating or disclosing the material to third parties, including social media platforms, without prior court approval.
Trump’s lawyers and the district attorney’s office have not yet commented on the sentence. Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and another woman toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign to keep them from talking about her accusations of affairs with him.
He has pleaded not guilty and maintains that the judge and Bragg are biased against him. Trump’s lawyers have also asked that the case be moved to federal court, but the request is still pending.
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