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Trump hit with expanded gag order after attacking judge’s daughter online

Donald Trump has been issued with an expanded gag order in his upcoming hush-money case after the former president launched a vitriolic attack against the judge’s daughter online.

New York Judge Juan Merchan said Mr Trump was barred from speaking out against his family members or those of the Manhattan Attorney General, Alvin Bragg, as well as witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and their relatives, in a new order.

In a post on his social media website Truth Social last week, Mr Trump called Mr Merchan’s daughter Loren a “Rabid Trump Hater” and called for the judge to be removed from the case.

“Judge Juan Merchan is totally compromised, and should be removed from this TRUMP Non-Case immediately,” the probable Republican presidential candidate said. “His Daughter, Loren, is a Rabid Trump Hater, who has admitted to having conversations with her father about me, and yet he gagged me.”

The second directive follows last week’s partial gagging order which blocked Mr Trump from making public statements related to the upcoming hush-money trial, in which he is being charged for falsifying business records.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits between his attorneys Emil Bove and Susan Necheles as he appears before Justice Juan Merchan during a hearing before his trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. March 25, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
Donald Trump appears before Justice Juan Merchan during a hearing before his trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 (Photo: Jane Rosenberg/ Reuters)

The case alleges that Mr Trump’s team made payments to silence the adult film star Stormy Daniels from speaking out before his 2016 presidential run.

Mr Trump’s campaign spokesman Steven Cheung pushed back on the new order, condemning it as “unconstitutional”.

Judge Merchan said on Monday that Mr Trump’s “pattern of attacking family members of presiding jurists and attorneys assigned to his cases serves no legitimate purpose. It merely injects fear in those assigned or called to participate in the proceedings, that not only they, but their family members as well, are ‘fair game’ for Defendant’s vitriol,” he said.

FILE PHOTO: Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, poses for pictures at the end of her striptease show in Gossip Gentleman club in Long Island, New York, U.S., February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, in 2018 (Photo: Eduardo Munoz/ Reuters)

“It is no longer just a mere possibility or a reasonable likelihood that there exists a threat to the integrity of the judicial proceedings. The threat is very real.”

Earlier this week, Mr Bragg, who is also involved in the proceedings, asked Judge Merchan to expand the gagging order – a legal order which restricts comments or information being made public – after Mr Trump pivoted attacks towards Loren Merchan, a political consultant.

Writing on Truth Social on March 27, just a day after the original gagging order, Mr Trump attacked Ms Merchan for working at a “Super Liberal Democrat firm” for “Crooked Joe Biden” and other Democrat politicians.

He also claimed that Ms Merchan had an account on the social media site X that had a profile photo of Mr Trump behind bars.

“Judge Juan Merchan, who is suffering from an acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome (whose daughter represents Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, and other Radical Liberals, has just posted a picture of me behind bars, her obvious goal, and makes it completely impossible for me to get a fair trial) has now issued another illegal, un-American, unConstitutional ‘order,’ as he continues to try and take away my Rights”.

In response, the New York State Court said the account was a fake and that Ms Merchan had deleted her X profile over a year ago.

Newsweek reported that she was the president and partner of Authentic Campaigns, a progressive political consulting firm, where she has worked for clients including Kamala Harris, current vice-president, and Democrat politician Adam Schiff.

The multimillionaire businessman and Republican former president has been posting regularly on Truth Social about the trials, labelling them a “sick witch hunt”.

In one post from 29 March he said that the evidence iswas”so overwhelming in my favor” and “so ridiculously bad for the highly partisan and hateful district attorney,” referring to Mr Bragg.

Mr Trump denies the 34 felony counts laid out in the falsifying business records case, which is set to begin on 15 April in New York.

It will be his first criminal trial following last year’s civil fraud trial which resulted in a $464m fine after he was found guilty of improperly inflating the value of his properties. On Monday he posted a $175m bond in the case to prevent the seizure of his assets while his lawyers’ appeal.

Mr Trump will face Democrat President Joe Biden in US general elections in November in a highly anticipated presidential election rerun.

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