Trump gets handed social media muzzle in NYC hush money case

The New York state justice presiding over former President Donald Trump‘s hush money case largely sided with Manhattan prosecutors on Monday, issuing a new order that bars the former president from posting evidence related to the case on his social media accounts.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan issued the order after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office requested that Trump be limited on what can be discussed publicly from the case. The former president is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection to Bragg’s investigation into several alleged hush money payments made during the 2016 election, including $130,000 to former adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

Former President Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally on April 27, 2023, in Manchester, New Hampshire. The justice presiding over Trump’s hush money case in Manhattan imposed restrictions on the former president regarding his public commentary on the proceedings.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Merchan’s order on Monday states that “any materials” provided by either party “shall be used solely for the purposes of preparing a defense” and restricts anyone with access to evidence related to the case from copying or disseminating the information “by any means” without court approval.

Trump is also restricted from reviewing specified “Limited Dissemination Materials” provided by Bragg’s office without the presence of his legal team, and will only be allowed to review “forensic images of witness cell phones” with his defense counsel that are pre-approved by the court.

Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s press team via email for comment.

Prosecutors argued in a request filed last month that Trump and his legal counsel have had a “pattern” of attacking individuals involved in past cases surrounding the former president, “including witnesses, jurors, and those involved in conducting or overseeing the investigations.”

The court documents also point to instances where Trump has launched “similar attacks” on parties involved in the hush money case, such as referring to Daniels as “Horseface” and calling Bragg a “SOROS BACKED ANIMAL” and “degenerate psychopath” on his Truth Social account in March.

The filing emphasized that Bragg’s office was not seeking a gag order against the former president at this time, acknowledging that Trump “has a constitutional right to speak publicly about this case, and the People do not seek to infringe upon that right.”

“That said, neither Defendant nor Defense Counsel have a First Amendment right to speak publicly regarding materials they receive through discovery,” read the request.

The order arrives as Trump awaits a ruling on his request to have the hush money case be moved from state court to federal court, arguing that the case “involves important federal questions.” The former president has previously complained online that Merchan “HATES” him and said that he “was hand picked by Bragg & the Prosecutors.”

A spokesperson for Trump previously told Newsweek that “It is imperative this case is tried fairly and moved to federal court because it is the most appropriate venue.”

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