Trump’s Appeal to Lift Gag Order Rejected by Court

The former US president is still forbidden to talk about his New York criminal trial

A New York appeals court has ruled that former US President Donald Trump cannot speak about his criminal case in Manhattan, even after the jury reached a verdict. The court affirmed the gag order imposed by Judge Juan Merchan during Trump’s trial on 34 counts of “falsifying business records,” which District Attorney Alvin Bragg claimed were connected to campaign finance violations and attempts to influence the 2016 election.

The jury found Trump guilty in late May. Trump’s legal team has opposed the gag order since its inception, arguing that it hinders his 2024 presidential campaign. However, the appeals court concluded that the gag order doesn’t raise any significant constitutional issues and therefore remains in place.

“The Gag Order wrongfully silences the leading candidate for President of the United States, President Trump, at the height of his campaign,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung stated on Tuesday. He added that Trump’s attorneys will continue to challenge the “unconstitutional” measure.

The campaign argues that the gag order “violates the First Amendment rights of President Trump and all American voters, who have a fundamental right to hear his message.” The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits government censorship of speech and the press. Trump has dismissed the prosecution as politically motivated and a “witch hunt” orchestrated by President Biden and his administration.

Trump’s lawyers have pointed out that President Joe Biden is using Trump’s conviction as a key talking point in his 2024 campaign and will likely bring it up during the first presidential debate, scheduled for later this month. This would prevent Trump from responding.

Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election, a nomination that will be formally announced at the national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin next month. However, Judge Merchan has set Trump’s sentencing hearing for July 11, just days before the convention is scheduled to begin.