Trump calls it a ‘disgrace’ after judge directs Michael Cohen to refrain from talking about hush money case

Former President Trump complained Friday that it was a “joke” and a “disgrace” after the judge overseeing his hush money trial directed prosecutors to inform Michael Cohen, their star witness, to stop speaking publicly about the case as his testimony approaches.

“There is no gag order for Michael Cohen. What the judge did was amazing, actually. Everybody can say whatever they want, but I’m not allowed to say anything about anybody. It’s a disgrace,” Trump said after court adjourned for the day.

“What he just did now is a joke. It’s a disgrace,” Trump added.

Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly criticized Cohen’s public attacks on Trump, given that the former president’s ability to respond is limited under the terms of his gag order.

Todd Blanche, Trump’s attorney, asked Friday that Cohen be prohibited from talking “in the same way President Trump is” restricted.

“I will direct [the prosecutors] to communicate to Mr. Cohen that the judge is asking him to refrain from any more statements about this case,” Merchan said from the bench.

Cohen is expected to testify Monday and has been billed as a key witness for the district attorney’s office. He made the $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels, who claimed she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which he denies. He also played a role in coordinating two other hush money deals that benefited Trump.

Trump’s gag order bars him from attacking witnesses, jurors, prosecutors, court staff and the judge’s family. It doesn’t bar him from going after the judge or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), something Trump does almost daily.

The former president has lambasted the restrictions, asserting they violate his First Amendment rights to respond to political attacks, which he says he should be entitled to do as the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

Merchan earlier this week found Trump violated the gag order for a 10th time and ordered him to pay $1,000 for attacking jurors in his hush money criminal trial, just days after the judge ruled on an earlier set of gag order violations. The judge warned Trump that future violations could be punishable by incarceration.

Trump said Friday he would be “very proud” to go to jail over violating his gag order.

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