There was no shortage of excitement on Tuesday morning in lower Manhattan, New York, as former President Donald Trump appeared in court to face arraignment in the case brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
The Republican presidential candidate has pleaded not guilty to 34 charges that allege that he lied about his business records regarding Stormy Daniels’ hush-money case, in which he was accused of falsifying business records to allegedly facilitate the less than $200,000 payment. A Manhattan grand jury has indicted Trump in an ongoing case that alleges that he was involved in the purported payment of hush money to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, with the purpose of keeping Daniels quiet about an affair the two of them had in 2006.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Manhattan judge overseeing the Trump case warned the former president against making statements online that could provoke violence. Trump, however, was not subjected to a gag order, which would have restricted his ability to discuss the case.
Judge Juan Merchan said that Trump and other witnesses that prosecutors intend to call should “refrain from making statements likely to incite violence or create civil unrest.”
“Prosecutor Christopher Conroy raised Trump’s recent use of incendiary language on his Truth Social media platform, highlighting a number of the posts during the proceeding and handing the judge several examples printed on paper. Because of the posts, Conroy said, prosecutors are working with Trump’s attorneys to draw up a protective order that would bar the ex-prez from posting sensitive information turned over to his legal team as part of the discovery process in the case,” the New York Post reported.
“The order currently being hashed out would bar Trump from providing the discovery material to any third party and from posting it on social media. Trump would also be required to review any shared sensitive material in the presence of his attorneys, and would not be allowed to take physical copies of such documents with him,” the outlet added.
Todd Blanche, one of Trump’s attorneys, responded in court by arguing that the grand jury process has already been marred by leaks and that Michael Cohen, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses at the grand jury meeting, appeared in front of a group of journalists to discuss his testimony.
As part of his request, Judge Merchan directed the prosecutors and Trump’s team to work together and prepare a court order detailing Trump’s ability to talk about sensitive information in the case on social media.
Several liberal outlets have even criticized Bragg’s case against Trump for its weakness.
Senior correspondent at Vox, Ian Millhiser, wrote: “There is something painfully anticlimactic about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of former President Trump. It concerns not Trump’s efforts to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States, but his alleged effort to cover up a possible extramarital affair with a porn star. And there’s a very real risk that this indictment will end in an even bigger anticlimax. It is unclear that the felony statute that Trump is accused of violating actually applies to him.”
Separately, a liberal writer for the ultra left0-leaning outlet Slate expounded on that sentiment with a story for the publication titled, “The Trump Indictment Is Not the Slam-Dunk Case Democrats Wanted.”
The onslaught of backlash continued with former Whitewater deputy counsel Sol Wisenberg who said: “The question to ask yourself in a case like this [is], ‘Would a case like this be brought against anybody else, whether he or she be president, former president or a regular citizen?’ The answer is… no. You can debate all day long whether or not… Trump should be indicted related to the records at Mar-a-Lago, whether or not he should be indicted with respect to Jan. 6 incitement of lawless activity… Those are real crimes if they occurred, and he committed them. This is preposterous.”
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, called the case “outrageous,” adding that “[Bragg] is attempting to bootstrap [a] federal crime into a state case. And if that is the basis for the indictment, I think it’s rather outrageous.”