Judge Merchan Must Deny Trump’s Gag Order Request to Protect Justice, Experts Argue

 Judge Merchan Must Deny Trump’s Gag Order Request to Protect Justice, Experts Argue

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Judge Juan Merchan, the jurist overseeing Donald Trump’s criminal hush money cover-up case, which recently led to the former president’s conviction on 34 felonies, is facing pressure to deny Trump’s latest request to lift a gag order. According to a former impeachment counsel, allowing Trump to resume his attacks could jeopardize the administration of justice.

Norman Eisen, a former impeachment counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, argued on Sunday that Trump “is clamoring to get back on the attack” with his request for Merchan to suspend the gag order, which the ex-president has violated at least 10 times. Eisen, who has also served as a U.S. ambassador and in senior White House and congressional roles, co-authored a piece with former federal prosecutor Andrew Warren titled, “Trump wants his gag order lifted. Judge Merchan must say no.”

“For the sake of protecting the administration of justice, Merchan should not go along with their request,” the lawyers wrote.

They elaborated on the issue, highlighting Trump’s behavior during and after the trial. “During and after the trial, Trump has bashed Merchan, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and even President Joe Biden for what he called a ‘rigged’ trial. But the gag order has [not] muzzled Trump from attacking everyone, restricting him from public statements about trial witnesses, jurors, and the other prosecutors and court staff as well as their families,” they noted.

Eisen and Warren also dismantled Trump’s legal team’s arguments. “Trump’s attorneys claim that the gag order has served its purpose, and with the trial over, there is no need to bar him from verbally assailing witnesses, assistant prosecutors, court staff, or their families,” they wrote. In contrast, prosecutors highlighted that the verdict is not the end of the case; sentencing and post-trial motions remain, as does the need to protect the judicial process. Juror safety, especially in high-profile cases like this, remains critical long after a verdict. “It would be perverse if jurors were now targeted as a result of their public service. It would also compromise the ability to seat jurors in the three other criminal cases against Trump that remain pending,” they emphasized.

Eisen and Warren argued that “Merchants gag order struck an appropriate balance between ensuring the First Amendment rights of a candidate seeking office and the need to protect the integrity of the court proceedings.”

Although the trial has concluded, the wider proceedings continue, as does the need to protect them. Perhaps if Trump had not created the need for the gag order in the first place, then repeatedly violated it, his request would be more reasonable,” the article states. “But there is no need to accommodate a vindictive man who has shown he is willing to break the law as eagerly as he disregards the truth.”

The experts’ call for maintaining the gag order underscores the ongoing complexities and stakes involved in handling high-profile cases involving former President Trump. As the legal battles continue, the balance between upholding justice and managing public discourse remains a pivotal concern.

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