Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Trump slams ‘unconstitutional’ gag order as trial wraps for the day: ‘All Biden’

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Former President Donald Trump slammed what he described as an “unconstitutional” gag order imposed on him during his trial in Manhattan, while pinning blame for the trial and ongoing anti-Israel protests unfolding on college campuses nationwide on President Biden. 

“We have a gag order, which to me is totally unconstitutional. I’m not allowed to talk, but people are allowed to talk about me. So they can talk about me,” Trump said outside the courtroom. “They can say whatever they want, they can lie, but I’m not allowed to say anything. I just have to sit back and look at why a conflicted judge has ordered me to have gag order,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody’s ever seen anything like this. I’d love to talk to you people. I’d love to say everything that’s on my mind, but I’m restricted because I have a gag order,” he continued. 

Trump was back in court on Tuesday, when presiding Judge Juan Merchan held a hearing on the prosecution’s request that Trump be held in contempt for violating a gag order. Merchan imposed the gag order on Trump before the trial began, ordering Trump to abstain from making comments — or directing others to make comments — regarding witnesses’ potential participation or the prosecution team. The gag order does allow Trump to publicly speak about District Attorney Alvin Bragg. 

LIVE UPDATES: NY VS. TRUMP TRIAL TO RESUME AS FORMER PRESIDENT FIGHTS OFF GAG ORDER ALLEGATIONS 

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trumps historic hush money trial are set to begin. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Prosecutors presented 10 instances of Trump allegedly violating the gag order in social media posts during the hearing. The DA’s office argues he should pay a $1,000 fine each for a handful of the instances. 

Trump’s legal team pushed back that the posts in question were examples of the 45th president responding to attacks. 

Merchan has not issued a decision yet on whether Trump is found in contempt. He did warn the Trump defense team that they were “losing all credibility” during the hearing. 

NY VS. TRUMP: FIRST WITNESS TAKES THE STAND IN MANHATTAN COURT

“I’ve asked you 8 or 9 times, ‘show me the exact post that he was responding to’ and you haven’t been able to do that once,” Merchan told Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche. 

A court sketch depicts former President Donald Trump’s appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court

A court sketch depicts former President Donald Trump’s appearance in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Friday, April 19, 2024. Trump’s criminal trial is in its fourth day of jury selection. (Christine Cornell)

“I have to tell you right now, you’re losing all credibility in the court,” Merchan added. 

Joe Biden talking at podium, making a fist

President Joe Biden speaks at Abbotts Creek Community Center during an event to promote his economic agenda in Raleigh, North Carolina, on January 18, 2024.  (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump continued in his comments after court wrapped up for the day that the ongoing anti-Israel demonstrations raging on some of the nation’s most elite college campuses are “Biden’s fault,” in addition to the trial itself. 

“That’s Biden’s fault,” he said of the school protests. “And by the way, this trial is all Biden.”

“He can’t put two sentences again, but he’s out campaigning,” Trump continued of Biden. “He’s out campaigning. And I’m here in a courtroom sitting here … sitting up as straight as I can all day long. Because you know what? It’s a very unfair situation.”

NY VS. TRUMP: JUDGE WARNS TRUMP TEAM THEY’RE ‘LOSING ALL CREDIBILITY’ IN GAG ORDER HEARING

Donald Trump watches with his attorney Todd Blanche as prosecutor Matthew Colangelo makes opening statements during Trump's criminal trial

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo makes opening statements as former U.S. President Donald Trump watches with his attorney Todd Blanche before Justice Juan Merchan during Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. April 22, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts. 

NY VS. TRUMP: JUDGE DELIVERS JURY INSTRUCTIONS AS OPENING STATEMENTS KICK OFF

The trial focuses on Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen paying former pornographic actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with Trump in the early 2000s. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels.

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Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses. 



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