Breaking: Appeals Court Makes Decision On Trump New York Case

Breaking: Appeals Court Makes Decision On Trump New York Case

The New York Court of Appeals announced on Tuesday that it would not consider former President Donald Trump’s appeal of the gag order in the hush money case, for which he was convicted last month.

The state’s highest court ruled that the appeal was invalid because there was “no substantial constitutional question directly involved.”

This means Trump remains subject to the gag order issued by state judge Juan Merchan. The order prohibits Trump from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, jurors, court personnel, and their families, as well as the families of Judge Merchan and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, according to NBC News.

Trump argued that the order raised “constitutional questions of the highest order.”

Trump’s legal team claimed the order restricts his “core political speech on matters of central importance at the height of his presidential campaign, where he is the leading candidate, and thus it violates the fundamental right of every American voter to hear” his views “on matters of enormous public importance.” They argued it was “constitutionally important” for him to discuss two key witnesses in the case: his former lawyer Michael Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels.

From the DA’s office to the high court, it was contended that Merchan’s order did not breach the Constitution because it was “narrowly tailored” and essential due to Trump’s “singular and well-documented history of leveling threatening, inflammatory, and degrading remarks against trial participants.” Prosecutors asserted that his “violent rhetoric” instilled fear for their lives in people, including Bragg and his staff, and “terrified and intimidated his direct targets.”

Despite the high court's decision on Tuesday, Trump still has the option to request a hearing. Court spokesman Gary Spencer noted that he has 30 days to file such a motion.

Trump initially asked the appeals court to intervene in mid-May, prior to his conviction on 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records. This followed an unsuccessful attempt in a lower appeals court.

Throughout the trial, which lasted about a month and a half, Trump repeatedly criticized the gag order. Investigations revealed that Trump had violated the order multiple times. Merchan fined Trump $10,000 and warned of jail time if further violations occurred.

In early June, Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche wrote to Merchan requesting the gag order be lifted, arguing that “the stated bases for the gag order no longer exist” since the trial had concluded. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office continued to pursue the case despite the request from Trump’s legal team.

After being convicted, Trump potentially violated the gag order again by mentioning two witnesses in the case: Robert Costello, who testified for the defense, and Michael Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness and Trump’s former lawyer, though Trump did not name Cohen explicitly.

On July 11, the former president is scheduled to be sentenced in the case. He had a pre-sentencing meeting with a New York probation officer via phone on June 10.

Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, has called on DA Bragg and another top state prosecutor to testify regarding Trump’s prosecution.

In letters sent on Friday to Bragg and Matthew Colangelo, senior counsel to the DA’s office, Jordan requested their testimony before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on June 13. Colangelo, a former high-ranking official at President Joe Biden’s Justice Department, left to assist Bragg in prosecuting Trump.

“This hearing will examine actions by state and local prosecutors to engage politically motivated prosecutions of federal officials, in particular the recent political prosecution of President Donald Trump by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office,” Jordan wrote.

A jury found Trump guilty Thursday on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal payments meant to cover up a tryst with adult film star Stormy Daniels as part of a “catch-and-kill” scheme to influence the 2016 election.

While jail time is a possibility, legal experts doubt that Trump will be incarcerated; sentencing is set for July 11.

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