Donald Trump’s gag order relaxed ahead of debate with Joe Biden

The gag order against Donald Trump in his New York hush money case has been largely lifted, giving the former US president more leeway to criticise the proceedings as he campaigns for the White House.

Justice Juan Merchan ruled on Tuesday that Trump could now talk about trial witnesses and jurors, though he is barred from revealing jurors’ identities. A Trump spokesman said the full ban should have been lifted and that they will appeal the decision.

Merchan said “there is ample evidence to justify continued concern for the jurors”, who on May 30 found Trump guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to an adult film star before the 2016 election.

The ruling comes before the July 11 sentencing of Trump, who faces as much as four years in prison. The former president had pushed for the entire gag order to be lifted ahead of his debate showdown with US President Joe Biden on Thursday. Trump claims without evidence that Biden is behind his four criminal prosecutions.



New York jury finds Donald Trump guilty on all counts in hush money trial

New York jury finds Donald Trump guilty on all counts in hush money trial

Trump has long railed against the gag order, saying that it prevents him from responding to public attacks against him by key witnesses in the case, particularly his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and the porn star who got the payout, Stormy Daniels.

Merchan has routinely rejected those arguments and fined him US$9,000 in April for violating the gag order.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung blasted the decision for leaving in place portions of the “unconstitutional” gag order.

“This is another unlawful decision by a highly conflicted judge, which is blatantly un-American as it gags President Trump, the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election during the upcoming presidential debate on Thursday,” Cheung said in a statement.

Merchan also said Trump still can’t talk about court staff and their family members.



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