Gag Order? Trump Legal Team Expects Manhattan Judge To Silence Former President
Update (1208ET): Donald Trump's legal team thinks a New York judge may slap a gag order on the former president, the Daily Mail reports.
"The Trump legal team now thinks that the Manhattan judge will take the unprecedented step of silencing the presidential frontrunner with an unconstitutional gag order tomorrow," one source told the Mail. "The Trump legal team is considering adding a First Amendment lawyer to the effort to combat this and will fight it all the way.'"
If Trump breaks an imposed gag order, he risks a $1,000 fine and as much as 30 days in prison under New York law.
If a gag order is imposed, a previously announced Tuesday evening speech from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home may now be in doubt.
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As The Epoch Times' Naveen Anthrapully detailed earlier, former president Donald Trump has confirmed that he intends to appear before a New York court for his arraignment on charges brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
“ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!” Trump said in an all-caps April 3 Truth Social post.
“I will be leaving Mar-a-Lago on Monday at 12 noon, heading to Trump Tower in New York. On Tuesday morning I will be going to, believe it or not, the Courthouse. America was not supposed to be this way!” Trump said in another post.
The court hearing for the arraignment will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET when Trump will appear before acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan. This will be the first time in history that a former U.S. president faces criminal charges.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina said that he is yet to see the indictment as it is still sealed.
“We will take the indictment. We will dissect it. The team will look at every, every potential issue that we will be able to challenge and we will challenge, and of course, I very much anticipate a motion to dismiss coming because there’s no law that fits this,” Tacopina said.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said in a statement on March 31: “This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”
Trump blasted Bragg for subjecting him to criminal charges. “The Corrupt D.A. has no case. What he does have is a venue where it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to get a Fair Trial (it must be changed!), and a Trump-Hating Judge, hand selected by the Soros-backed D.A. (he must be changed!). Also has the DOJ working in the D.A.’s Office – Unprecedented!” he said in an April 3 Truth Social post.
Trump was indicted by a grand jury for his involvement in paying $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The case is believed to rely mostly on testimony from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.
During an arraignment, formal charges against the accused are read by a judge for the first time. Trump will be asked how he wishes to plead and the judge will decide whether bail is necessary for him to be released.
GOP members have also insisted that the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against Trump is politically motivated. In a letter (pdf) to Republican lawmakers on Friday, Leslie Dubeck, Bragg’s general counsel, called such allegations of political persecution “baseless and inflammatory.”
“Like any other defendant, Mr. Trump is entitled to challenge these charges in court and avail himself of all processes and protections that New York State’s robust criminal procedure affords. What neither Mr. Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State.”
Richmond-based veteran political analyst Bob Holsworth believes the Manhattan district attorney’s case against Trump will boost the former president’s appeal for the Republican primaries in the race for 2024 president.
“But this [indictment] is not likely to be the only one. And the question is, as these pile up later this spring and summer, will it open up a lane for someone other than these two?” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times, referring to Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“We’re in uncharted territory, and I think we’ll see likely twists and turns beyond the immediate impact.”
On April 1, Trump posted the results of a poll on Truth Social which saw 83 percent of respondents willing to vote for Trump in the Republican primary. Second-placed candidate DeSantis only received 13 percent support.
“I have never had so much support and love as I do now against the Radical Left Insurrectionists, Extortionists, Crooked Politicians, and Thugs that are destroying our Country. Thank you, we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!” Trump said in an April 3 post.