Ex-Trump impeachment lawyer urges judge to uphold gag order: ‘There are wingnuts out there’

Robert Ray, who served as an impeachment lawyer for former President Trump, agreed with prosecutors that the hush money gag order should remain in place through Trump’s sentencing next month.

“The case isn’t over until the sentencing is heard and sentence is imposed,” Ray said Friday on CNN’s NewsNight. “I have absolutely no problem, frankly, with the prosecutors’ real concern about safety.”

“And look, there are wingnuts out there in the period of time between now and when the trial court’s role in this case ends,” he added in remarks highlighted by Mediaite. “I don’t think it’s worth taking the chance that anybody could do harm to any of the court personnel, the judge’s staff, most importantly, the judge, and certainly the district attorney and his staff.”

His remarks come after Trump was found guilty last month on all 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a payment made to an adult film star in 2016 to buy her silence over an alleged past affair. He has denied the allegations and vowed to appeal the case.

The presumptive GOP nominee issued a challenge to the gag order, which bars Trump from making public comments about witnesses, jurors, court staff or the Judge Juan Merchan’s family, shortly after his conviction. It does not shield Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg from attacks.

Prosecutors have petitioned the judge to maintain the gag order, according to a filing made public Friday. They cited over 50 threats made against officials connected to the case but did concede that the order should be dismissed protecting the trial’s witnesses.

The New York Court of Appeals dismissed Trump’s request to lift the order in its entirety on Tuesday writing in a brief order that there was “no substantial constitutional question raised by the appeal.” Trump’s lawyers suggested that the trial’s conclusion waved concerns of protecting the proceeding’s integrity.

“My view of that is better safe than sorry,” Ray said Friday. “And so, any gag order that would help lend itself to calming the temperature here and getting us safely through this proceeding, I think is the right course.”

Merchan held Trump in contempt of the court after he violated his gag order for the 10th time during the trial by levying attacks against key witnesses. The judge ordered the former president to pay a $1,000 fine per violation and threatened jail time for future violations.

Trump has maintained that the gag order is in violation of his First Amendment rights since the onset of trial. He will face sentencing on July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention, where he is expected to be officially named as the GOP nominee for the White House.

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