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DA argues against lifting Trumps limited gag order in hush money case

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(NEW YORK) — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, in a court filing Friday, opposed lifting the limited gag order on Donald Trump as the former president awaits sentencing in his criminal hush money case.

The limited gag order prevents Trump from targeting witnesses, jurors and others associated with the case.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that Trump’s “political opponents” — including President Joe Biden, Robert DeNiro, Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels — are using the gag order as a “sword” to attack the former president.

Trump last month was found guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

With the trial over, Trump’s attorneys asked the judge overseeing the case, Juan Merchan, to lift the limited gag order as Trump awaits his sentencing on July 11, arguing that the court’s concerns no longer apply.

But Bragg’s office said the protections should remain in effect at least through sentencing.

“Defendant’s demand that this Court precipitously end these protections, even before the sentencing hearing on July 11, is overstated and largely unfounded,” prosecutors said in Friday’s filing.

Prosecutors argued that the gag order was necessary to protect staff and lawyers with the Manhattan district attorney’s office from Trump’s “dangerous attacks.”

According to an affidavit filed Friday, the New York Police Department’s Threat Assessment and Protection Unit identified 61 actionable threats against Bragg, his family and staff in 2024, including 56 threats during the last three months when the trial was active. Threats included bomb threats, doxing, and online threats, such as messages including “Your life is done” and “we will kill you all.”

“The Court’s orders as to prosecutors, court staff, and their families continue to strike the appropriate balance under the Constitution to mitigate the threat to the judicial process posed by defendant’s dangerous attacks,” the DA’s filing argued.

Prosecutors also accused defense attorneys for including “a number of categorically false accusations” in their recent filings, including suggesting that Bragg was coordinating with a “cast of associates” to limit Trump’s speech ahead of this month’s upcoming presidential debate.

“Defendant offers no factual basis for this assertion, and there is none: the claim is a lie,” the filing said. “These knowing falsehoods are just the latest examples of defendant’s patent disrespect for the rule of law and the impartial administration of justice.”

While prosecutors argued that the gag order should remain in place to protect jurors, court staff, prosecutors, and their families, they conceded that the provisions of the gag order prohibiting Trump’s statements about witnesses no longer need to be enforced.

“Now that the jury has delivered a verdict, however, the compelling interest in protecting the witnesses’ ability to testify without interference is no longer present,” the DA’s filing said.

On Tuesday, the New York Court of Appeals declined to take up Trump’s challenge to the limited gag order, saying their rejection is based “upon the ground that no substantial constitutional question is directly involved.”

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