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Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg opposes Trump request to lift gag order after hush money trial

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(NEW YORK) — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg opposes former President Donald Trump’s request for Judge Juan Merchan to lift the gag order in his hush money case despite the conclusion of the criminal trial.

Trump argued the trial’s conclusion meant the gag order was no longer needed but prosecutors disagreed.

“The Court’s Orders, however, were based not only on the need to avoid threats to the fairness of the trial itself…but also on the Court’s broader ‘obligation to prevent actual harm to the integrity of the proceedings’; to protect ‘the orderly administration of this Court’; and to avoid ‘risk[s] to the administration of justice,"” prosecutors wrote in a letter to the judge Wednesday. “These interests have not abated.”

Bragg said Merchan should maintain the gag order “at least through the sentencing hearing and the resolution of any post-trial motions.”

Defense attorney Todd Blanche said in a letter to the court on Tuesday that the gag order is no longer warranted.

“Now that the trial is concluded, the concerns articulated by the government and the Court do not justify continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump — who remains the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election — and the American people,” the letter from Trump’s attorneys said.

Blanche’s letter references “continued public attacks” by prosecution witnesses Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, both of whom Trump has been restrained from verbally attacking. The letter also makes several arguments about politics and President Joe Biden, who has never been off-limits per the gag order.

A jury found Trump guilty last week on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to a 2016 hush money payment to Daniels, an adult film actress, in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

It marks the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been convicted on criminal charges.

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