May 28, 2024

A New York appeals court on Tuesday shut down Donald Trump’s request to overturn the gag order in his hush-money trial, reports MSNBC.

The Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, ruled Tuesday that with his decision to impose a gag order, Judge Juan Merchan “properly weighed petitioner’s First Amendment Rights against the court’s historical commitment to ensuring the fair administration of justice in criminal cases.”

“Justice Merchan properly determined [Trump’s] public statements posed a significant threat to the integrity of the testimony of witnesses and potential witnesses in this case as well,” the appeals court added.

The gag order prohibits Trump from attacking Merchan, court staff, the prosecution, witnesses, and their families. Trump has decried this order as an attack on his constitutional right to free speech, complaining that he isn’t allowed to respond to statements made against him. The former president has already been fined $10,000 for 10 violations of the order, and Merchan has warned Trump that any further violations would send him to jail.

In the past week, Trump has heard testimony from two witnesses with damaging testimony: adult film actress Stormy Daniels and his former fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen, who have each gotten under his skin. He is carefully attempting to skirt the order by dodging reporters’ questions about having surrogates attack the people he cannot. For example, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson attended Trump’s trial on Tuesday and criticized the people specifically mentioned in the gag order.

The former president is accused of paying off Daniels in order to keep their affair under wraps before the 2016 presidential election with the help of Cohen. Trump faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime, and has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

This story has been updated.