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Bragg Asks Judge to Extend Trump’s Gag Order, Citing Deluge of Threats
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By The New York Times
Published 4 weeks ago on
June 21, 2024

Prosecutors urge keeping the gag order on Trump to protect trial integrity and officials, citing 56 threats tied to his rhetoric. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

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NEW YORK — Manhattan prosecutors said Friday that a judge should keep in place major elements of the gag order imposed on Donald Trump before his criminal trial, citing dozens of threats that have been made against officials connected to the case.

Gag Order Bans Trump from Certain Actions

The gag order, issued before the trial began in mid-April, bans Trump from attacking witnesses, jurors, court staff and relatives of the judge who presided over the trial, Juan M. Merchan, among others.

Since his conviction late last month on 34 felony counts, Trump’s calls for the order to be lifted have only grown louder. But in a 19-page filing Friday, prosecutors argued that while Merchan no longer needed to enforce the portion of the order relating to witnesses, he should leave its other provisions in place before Trump’s sentencing July 11.

While the gag order does not prohibit Trump from criticizing Merchan or Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who brought the case, it does preclude attacks on prosecutors and their relatives, including Bragg’s.

And on Friday, prosecutors said those protections from Trump’s public attacks remained necessary to protect the integrity of an ongoing criminal proceeding.

NYPD Logged 56 “Actionable Threats”

The New York Police Department has logged 56 “actionable threats” against Bragg, his family and employees at the district attorney’s office since early April, according to an affidavit provided with the filing.

Such threats, evidently made by supporters of Trump, included a post disclosing the home address of one of Bragg’s employees, and bomb threats made on the first day of the trial targeting two people involved in the case.

Prosecutors said the threats were “directly connected to defendant’s dangerous rhetoric” and cited several examples, including a post that depicted crosshairs “on people involved in this case.”

Others were homicidal messages directed at Bragg or his employees, including, “We will kill you all,” “You are dead,” and, “Your life is done.” Four of the threats were referred for further investigation, according to the police affidavit.

The 56 threats, prosecutors said, did not include hundreds of harassing emails and phone calls received by Bragg’s office, which the police are “not tracking as threat cases.”

All told, prosecutors argued that the threats “overwhelmingly outweighed” the “expressive interest” of Trump, especially considering that he had yet to be sentenced.

Trump Repeatedly Attacked Bragg and Merchan

During his seven-week trial, Trump, the former president and presumptive Republican nominee, repeatedly attacked Bragg and Merchan. He was also cited 10 times for violating his gag order with online postings and comments excoriating jurors or witnesses. The violations led Merchan to impose a $10,000 fine and threaten Trump with jail time.

Trump’s vitriol flared again Friday morning, before the district attorney’s filing, with a post on his Truth Social account.

“I DID NOTHING WRONG on the D.A. Alvin Bragg case, it was only because my name is TRUMP that they went after me,” he wrote, citing an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Todd Blanche, a lawyer for Trump, did not respond to a request for comment on the filing Friday. Nor did a spokesperson for Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump was convicted May 30 of falsifying business records related to a $130,000 payoff made to porn actor Stormy Daniels. The money was meant to cover up a tryst she says she had with Trump in 2006, a decade before he was elected. (Trump, 78, has denied ever having had sex with Daniels.)

Trump Faces up to Four Years in Prison

Trump could get four years in prison or lesser punishments like probation or home confinement.

The first American president to face — and be convicted of — criminal charges, Trump has worn the guilty verdict as a badge of honor, using it to raise money and presenting himself as a “political prisoner.”

He has also continued to spread the false theory that his prosecution was the work of a nefarious conspiracy among Democrats, including President Joe Biden and Bragg.

Prosecutors cited those untrue statements about Democratic collusion in their filings Friday, noting that there was no “factual basis for this assertion.”

“There is none: the claim is a lie,” prosecutors wrote.

They also made clear that they viewed it as vital that the protections remain in place.

“As defendant’s continued conduct makes clear, the need to protect participants in this criminal proceeding and the integrity of the criminal justice process from defendant’s attacks remains critically important,” they wrote.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

By Jesse McKinley and Kate Christobek/Doug Mills
c.2024 The New York Times Company
Distributed by The New York Times Licensing Group

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