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Legal Expert Criticizes Gag Order In Trump Case As Lacking 'Rationale' Post-Trial

 June 20, 2024

In a pivotal ruling, a New York appeals court upheld a gag order against Donald Trump during his 2024 presidential campaign.

The decision to maintain the gag order comes in the wake of Trump's conviction on multiple counts of falsifying business records, Fox News reported.

Last week, the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg found former President Donald Trump guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, leading to a trial that extended over six weeks.

The New York Court of Appeals, reviewing the merits of the gag order imposed by Judge Juan Merchan, decided against lifting it. The order restricts Trump's ability to publicly comment on various parties involved in the trial, including witnesses and legal personnel.

Judge Merchan, in his ruling, emphasized the continuing necessity of the gag order despite the trial reaching its conclusion, sparking significant discourse about its implications.

Gag Order Maintained Irrespective of Electoral Politics

As Trump gears up for the 2024 presidential race, where he remains a front-runner, observers increasingly scrutinize the implications of the gag order. Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, just before the Republican National Convention.

Legal minds argue that the gag order adversely impacts Trump's communication ability during this critical political period. Moreover, Trump's legal team has urgently filed an appeal challenging the legality and constitutionality of the gag order.

The appeals court denied the removal of the gag order, stating that the issue did not involve substantial constitutional questions, which influenced their decision-making process.

Concerns Over Freedom of Speech and Political Implications

Numerous legal experts have questioned the legal rationale behind continuing the gag order post-verdict. Jonathan Turley, a defense attorney and law professor, finds it troubling that this order limits a prominent presidential candidate's candidate's speech as elections draw near.

"The continuation of the gag order seems untethered from any compelling rationale, particularly in light of the election," Turley commented, indicating a disconnect between judicial prudence and political equity.

"It is deeply concerning that Judge Merchan would continue a gag order long after the verdict has been reached and the jury dismissed the case," he added, highlighting a potential misuse of judicial discretion.

The Gag Order in a Comparative Legal Context

Providing a historical comparison, constitutional attorney John Shu pointed out that such restrictive gag orders were not standard, even for high-profile criminals in New York's York's history. "Neither was John Gotti, the former head of the Gambino crime family and known as the ''Teflon Don,'' though that was a federal case," Shu stated.

Shu emphasizes, "Say what you want about Donald Trump, but she's not a mobster," arguing the exceptional nature of this gag order against a political figure rather than a traditional criminal figure.

The unique continuation of this gag order has stirred legal debate and discourse on judicial standards and political fairness.

Trump'sTrump's Campaign Reacts to Controversial Court Decision

Steven Cheung, the spokesperson for Trump'sTrump's campaign, strongly criticized the gag order. "The Gag Order wrongfully silences the leading candidate for President of the United States, President Trump, at the height of his campaign," Cheung noted.

Describing it as an " Election Interfering Gag Order," Cheung argued that it infringes upon First Amendment rights, stating, "This violates the First Amendment rights of President Trump and all American voters, who have a fundamental right to hear his message."

As Trump's legal battles continue, with the verdict and the gag order being separately appealed through New York state's appellate system, the coming months promise a complex mesh of legal and electoral dynamics.

Conclusion

In summary, upholding the gag order against Former President Donald Trump after his conviction has sparked widespread debate about constitutional freedoms and electoral integrity. Legal experts and Trump's campaign continue to challenge the order, citing concerns over free speech and political engagement ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.