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Judge refuses to hear Trump's appeal of gag order

Photo: Bill Pugliano Getty images/Agence France-Presse New York's highest court on Tuesday refused to hear an appeal of Donald Trump's gag order.

Jake Offenhartz – Associated Press and Michael R. Sisak – Associated Press in New York

Posted at 1:34 p.m.

  • United States

New York's highest court on Tuesday refused to hear an appeal of Donald Trump's gag order, leaving the restrictions in place after his conviction last month. The appeals court found that the order did not raise “substantial” constitutional questions that would warrant immediate intervention.

The ruling is the latest legal setback for the The former president, who repeatedly denounced the silence order, which prevents him from speaking about witnesses, jurors and others involved in the secret payments case. But this could be short-lived. Trial judge Juan M. Merchan is expected to rule soon on a defense request to lift the gag order.

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Donald Trump's lawyers filed a notice of appeal with the state's high court on May 15, during the former president's historic criminal trial. They argued that the order restricted Mr. Trump's “core political speech on issues of central importance during the height of his presidential campaign.”

But the Court of Appeal disagreed. In a list of decisions released Tuesday, the court said it would not automatically hear the case, writing that “no substantial constitutional issue is directly involved.”

< p>Donald Trump's lawyers were essentially looking for a shortcut to expedite their appeal, which was rejected by the state's mid-level appeals court last month. They now have 30 days to file a motion for leave to appeal, according to court spokesman Gary Spencer.

Judge Merchan imposed the order gag order on March 26, weeks before the trial was set to begin, after prosecutors expressed concerns about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's tendency to attack people involved in his cases.

During the trial, Judge Merchan found Mr. Trump in contempt of court and fined him US$10,000 for violating the silence order. The judge threatened to put Donald Trump in prison if he reoffended.

The order remains in effect weeks after the conclusion of the trial, which ended in Donald Trump's conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records stemming from what prosecutors said was an attempt to conceal a hush money payment to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election. Daniels claims she had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump a decade earlier, which he denies. He is scheduled to receive his sentence on July 11.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office had urged the appeals court to reject the appeal. In their own letter, prosecutors indicated that the question of whether the order should be lifted could be addressed in post-trial court filings.

The Mr. Trump's lawyers have argued that he should be allowed to respond fully in the case, given continued public criticism of him from his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen and Ms. Daniels, both witnesses keys to pursuit.

A few days after the verdict, they sent a letter to Judge Merchan asking him to lift the gag order. They followed up last week with a formal motion calling for the restrictions to be reversed. Prosecutors have until Thursday to respond. Judge Merchan is expected to issue his ruling shortly thereafter, perhaps before the July 27 debate between Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

“It’s a “little theater of the absurd at this point, no ? Michael Cohen is no longer a witness in this trial,” Donald Trump's lawyer, Todd Blanche, lamented to the AP earlier this month. “The trial is over. »

Mr. Blanche and the Manhattan district attorney's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent Tuesday.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116