April 18, 2024

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A New York judge on Monday expanded his gag order on Donald Trump, restricting the former president from attacking the family members of those involved in his upcoming criminal trial.

Trump is now prohibited from attacking Judge Juan Merchan‘s family members or those of District Attorney Alvin Bragg. That’s added to restrictions that restrict Trump’s comments on witnesses, as well as court staff and other prosecutors and their families. Trump also is restricted in commenting on jurors or prospective jurors.

Earlier today, Bragg’s office had called on Merchan to clarify the gag order, after Trump has continuously attacked the judge’s daughter by name and posted an article featuring her picture.

Trump’s legal team said that Trump was arguing that the judge should be recused in the case. Trump has argued that the judge’s daughter is biased against him.

But Merchan, in his ruling, wrote that “to argue that the most recent attacks, which included photographs, were ‘necessary and appropriate in the current environment,’ is farcical.”

Trump faces criminal charges related to hush money payments made to former porn actress Stormy Daniels in advance of the 2016 election. He has plead not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

In his original gag order, Merchan wrote that, given the pending start of the trial, “it is without question that the imminent risk of harm is now paramount.” He wrote that Trump’s statements “establishes a sufficient risk to the administration of justice.”

In his most recent order, Merchan wrote that “the average observer, must now, after hearing [Trump’s] recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well. Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

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