Trump Goes After Judge In Hush Money Trial After Being Hit With New Gag Order

Former President Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at the judge overseeing his criminal trial in New York ― and attacked his daughter as well ― just a day after the judge imposed a gag order barring him from speaking about the case.

Trump posted messages on his Truth Social media platform that attack Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the criminal trial centered on hush money payments made to block allegations against him in the final days of the 2016 presidential election. Merchan imposed a gag order on Tuesday that bars Trump from making any public statements about witnesses, prosecutors, court staff or jurors in the trial, citing the former president’s history of tirades about the case.

Merchan, an acting justice of the New York State Supreme Court in New York County, said it was “without question that the imminency of the risk of harm is now paramount.”

Notably, the gag order does not apply to remarks about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg or about Merchan and his family.

“Judge Juan Merchan, who is suffering from an acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome … has now issued another illegal, un-American, unConstitutional ‘order,’ as he continues to try and take away my Rights,” Trump wrote in his post. “This Judge, by issuing a vicious ‘Gag Order,’ is wrongfully attempting to deprive me of my First Amendment Right to speak out against the Weaponization of Law Enforcement.”

The former president also attacked Merchan’s daughter, claiming she had used an image of Trump behind bars as a profile picture on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter.

“So, let me get this straight, the Judge’s daughter is allowed to post pictures of her ‘dream’ of putting me in jail, the Manhattan D.A. is able to say whatever lies about me he wants, the Judge can violate our Laws and Constitution at every turn, but I am not allowed to talk about the attacks against me,” Trump wrote.

But a spokesperson for New York’s state court said Wednesday that the former president’s claim wasn’t true and that the X account no longer belongs to Merchan’s daughter. The New York Times reported that she deleted the handle about a year ago and that it has since been taken over by someone else.

“The X, formerly Twitter, account being attributed to Judge Merchan’s daughter no longer belongs to her,” Al Baker, the spokesperson, said, according to the Times. “It is not linked to her email address, nor has she posted under that screen name since she deleted the account. Rather, it represents the reconstitution, last April, and manipulation of an account she long ago abandoned.”

Merchan told The Associated Press this month that his office was working to prepare for the case, the first of Trump’s four indictments set to go to trial.

“There’s no agenda here,” the judge said. “We want to follow the law. We want justice to be done.”

The trial is scheduled to begin on April 15 despite Trump’s attempts to see the case delayed as his 2024 presidential election campaign continues. It involves payments made to one woman, adult film star Stormy Daniels, to silence her allegations about an extramarital affair, and payments connected to a tabloid allegedly meant to quash the stories of two other accusers.

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