Former President Donald Trump Faces Wider Gag Order After Targeting Judge’s Daughter, Threatening Integrity of New York Hush Money Case

New York City, NY – Former President Donald Trump has been issued a broader gag order in his criminal hush money case in New York. This comes after repeated social media attacks targeting the judge’s daughter. The order, issued by Judge Juan Merchan, prohibits Trump from publicly discussing family members of the judge or the Manhattan District Attorney if it significantly hampers the case’s progress. Merchan had previously imposed a similar gag order on statements about court staff and prosecutors, as well as their family members.

In response to an argument put forth by Trump’s lawyers, Merchan criticized the attacks as “farcical” and stated that the recent attacks, including the use of photographs, were not appropriate in the current environment. Trump’s posts in question referred to Loren Merchan, the judge’s daughter, as “a Rabid Trump Hater” and highlighted her role in a marketing agency that works with Democratic candidates and nonprofits. However, a previous determination by the New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics stated that the judge’s daughter’s work does not directly or indirectly pertain to the case and does not raise questions of impartiality on the judge’s part.

The trial involving Trump is scheduled to commence on April 15 and will include jury selection. The former president, who is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, faces 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records to conceal hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election. Daniels alleges that she had a consensual encounter with Trump, an accusation he denies. Prosecutors claim that the payment was made to keep this story from becoming public before the election.

Merchan emphasized the seriousness of Trump’s attacks, stating that they constitute an attack on the justice system itself. He expressed concern that such attacks would cause individuals involved in the proceedings, even tangentially, to fear for themselves and their loved ones. Merchan warned Trump that any legal right he may have had to access juror names would be forfeited if he engaged in conduct that threatened the safety and integrity of the jury or the jury selection process.

The judge’s earlier gag order already prevented Trump from publicly discussing potential or actual jurors.