Trump asks NY high court to intervene in gag order fight

Former President Trump asked New York’s highest court to intervene in his fight to throw out the gag order in his ongoing hush money criminal trial, one day after an appellate court upheld it.

Trump’s attorney filed a notice of appeal Wednesday, but it remained sealed on the court docket as of Thursday morning.

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told The Associated Press that the filing is a request for the state’s Court of Appeals to take up the gag order.

“President Trump has filed a notice to appeal the unconstitutional and un-American gag order imposed by conflicted Judge Juan Merchan in the lawless Manhattan DA case,” Cheung said in a statement, the AP reported.

“The threat to throw the 45th President of the United States and the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election in jail for exercising his First Amendment rights is a Third World authoritarian tactic typical of Crooked Joe Biden and his comrades,” Cheung added.

The Hill has reached out to Cheung for a statement.

On Tuesday, a New York appeals court affirmed the gag order against Trump that bars him from publicly commenting on witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and Merchan’s family. It does not prevent the former president from attacking Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).

“Justice Merchan properly determined that petitioner’s public statements posed a significant threat to the integrity of the testimony of witnesses and potential witnesses in this case as well,” the Tuesday decision from the five-judge panel read.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records over an alleged repayment scheme to Michael Cohen, Trump’s then-fixer, who had paid porn actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 ahead of the 2016 election to stay quiet about an affair with Trump she says she had in 2006. Trump denies the affair, says there was no wrongdoing with the payments and has pleaded not guilty.

Trump has railed against his gag order as a violation of his First Amendment rights, arguing it prevents him from responding to political attacks being levied by high-profile witnesses and others.

The former president’s attorneys lamented how Cohen has regularly attacked Trump on social media and elsewhere in the lead-up to his testimony, which began Monday, while Trump was prohibited from responding.

Merchan directed prosecutors Friday to tell Cohen that he shouldn’t make any more public statements about the case.

Merchan has also found Trump violated his gag order 10 times since it was imposed, ordering he pay a $1,000 fine per violation and warning that future violations could carry jail time.

Ella Lee and Zach Schonfeld contributed.

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