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Manhattan DA Bragg seeks gag order on Trump in Stormy Daniels hush money case

Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg asked a judge Monday for a narrowly tailored gag order prohibiting Donald Trump from commenting on those involved in the Stormy Daniels hush money case ahead of his first criminal trial next month, citing the former president’s record of “advocacy of revenge and retribution against perceived opponents.”

In a 331-page court filing, prosecutors laid out Trump’s “long history of making public and inflammatory remarks about the participants in various judicial proceedings,” including posting photos last year depicting him “holding a baseball bat and wielding it at the back of the district attorney’s head.”

“(A)s well as the inevitable reactions they incite from defendant’s followers and allies,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo wrote, Trump’s remarks “pose a significant and imminent threat to the orderly administration of this criminal proceeding and a substantial likelihood of causing material prejudice.”

“Those concerns grow more acute with the approaching trial,” Colangelo later wrote.

Specifically, Colangelo asked Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan to prohibit Trump from “making or directing others” to make statements about witnesses and potential witnesses, prosecutors in the case — not including Bragg — Merchan’s staff and the DA’s staff, their relatives and prospective jurors. He also asked that the jury’s home addresses remain unknown to Trump.

Trump is set to go on trial March 25 as the first U.S. president in history to face a criminal trial. He’s pleaded not guilty to 34 felonies alleging he concealed a series of checks to his former lawyer Michael Cohen in 2017 to disguise that they were payback for an illegal scheme to bury negative press ahead of the 2016 election and secure his victory.

In the leadup to his indictment last spring and after it, Bragg and Merchan were inundated with death threats and thousands of pieces of racist correspondence, the Daily News reported, as were officials involved in the various cases Trump faces as he runs for the White House again.

The NYPD’s threat assessment and protection unit logged 89 threats against Bragg, his family and his staff last year, up from just one in 2022 — before his office indicted Trump, Monday’s filing detailed.

 

Detailing Trump’s “ominous language and violent rhetoric,” Colangelo laid out examples of how it often leads to real-world harm. Hours after he posted “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” and wrongly predicted the date of his pending arrest in March 2023, a Utah man sent death threats to Bragg, which are now the subject of a federal case. The DA’s office also dealt with bogus white powder scares and bomb threats in the wake of Trump’s first indictment.

One letter the DA received included white powder with pictures of him and Trump and a threatening message reading, “You will be sorry.” Another read, “Alvin: I’m going to kill you.”

Colangelo quoted several excerpts from Trump’s books as examples of his revenge strategy.

“When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can,” Trump wrote in 2004. “For many years I’ve said that if someone screws you, screw them back.”

Trump’s lawyers said they would respond in court filings later this week. His campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, described the request as “another Deranged Democrat prosecutor seeking a restrictive gag order, which if granted, would impose an unconstitutional infringement on President Trump’s First Amendment rights.”

The GOP front-runner is already under a gag order in his federal election interference case in Washington, D.C. In Trump’s civil fraud case, which recently cost him almost half a billion dollars, the judge imposed a limited gag order when he targeted his chief law clerk with disparaging online comments. Trump violated the order twice.

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©2024 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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