On Monday night, New York state Judge Juan Merchan issued a gag order in the criminal hush money case against former President Donald Trump, ruling that the 45th president is prohibited from discussing certain evidence in the case on social media.
“Judge Juan Merchan largely sided with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg by limiting what Trump can publicly disclose about new evidence from the prosecution before the case goes to trial,” NBC News reported.
According to the decision, the defense must “use any materials and information provided by the People to the Defense in accordance with their discovery obligations… solely for the purposes of preparing a defense in this matter.”
Additionally, the order adds that anyone who has access to the evidence that state prosecutors are providing to Trump’s team “shall not copy, disseminate or disclose” the information to outside parties, including social media platforms, “without prior approval from the court.”
It specifically calls out Trump himself, stating that he has the right to conduct a review of sensitive “Limited Dissemination Materials” from prosecutors only in the presence of his lawyers and “shall not be permitted to copy, photograph, transcribe, or otherwise independently possess the Limited Dissemination Materials.”
Trump is also prohibited by the judge’s order from examining “forensic images of witness cell phones,” while his lawyers are permitted to show him “approved portions” of the images with the judge’s approval.
Regarding accusations that he fabricated business documents in connection with the hush-money lawsuit involving adult film star Stormy Daniels, Trump entered a not guilty plea to 34 charges.
In a case regarding his alleged involvement in payments of hush money to Daniels prior to the 2016 election, reportedly to keep Daniels quiet about an affair the two of them had in 2006, Trump was charged by a Manhattan grand jury.
Famous lawyer Alan Dershowitz recently attacked Bragg as well, stating he thought the Manhattan DA would lose his license because of his case against Trump.
While Dershowitz does not share Trump’s political views, he told DW’s Tim Sebastian that the accusations Bragg made against the former Trump are “absurd and politically motivated.” Given that judges and prosecutors in New York are chosen by election, Dershowitz contended that Trump will not receive a “fair trial in Manhattan” and that they all probably have political leanings to the Left.
Dershowitz suggested that if Bragg calls former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as a witness during the trial, which is set to start in December, things might become challenging for him.
“I don’t think an indictment can actually come forward now after the comments made by [Robert] Costello,” the attorney said.
He said that “he has proved that the main witness is going to be a perjuring liar on the witness stand, and that puts the district attorney in a terrible position.”
“If he uses Cohen as a witness, he could actually lose his bar license. Putting a witness on the stand who you know is lying is unethical, and he has to know that Cohen will be lying. Or he tries the case without Cohen, which would be very difficult, or he does the right thing: he drops the case,” Dershowitz said.
Late last month, Dershowitz presented a similar justification.
Dershowitz claimed during a Fox News appearance that if Bragg is found guilty of disclosing information about Trump’s indictment to the media, he may spend up to five years in prison.
Grand jury testimony leaks are a Class E felony in New York, punishable by a one- to five-year prison term.
Dershowitz also discussed the potential consequences for the district attorney of having Michael Cohen testify against him.
According to Dershowitz, it seems like Bragg’s position is that Trump should have told Daniels why he paid for a non-disclosure agreement, which would have undermined the deal’s intended purpose.