A New York State Supreme Court Judge, Juan Merchan, has ruled to limit what former President Donald Trump can publicly say regarding evidence shared with the defense in his Manhattan criminal case. This decision followed a request from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Judge Merchan’s order restricts Trump from disseminating or disclosing any shared evidence to third parties, including news or social media platforms like Truth Social, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, or YouTube, without the court’s prior approval.
However, Merchan clarified that he is not placing a gag order on Trump, acknowledging that the former president is a potential candidate for the Republican nomination in 2024. Trump will be required to attend a virtual hearing, where the order will be read to him to ensure he understands its implications.
Trump’s attorneys argue that the order infringes upon his First Amendment rights, stating that it restricts him from freely discussing his own character and qualifications for federal office, as well as limiting the American people’s right to hear his side of the story.
In March, Trump criticized Judge Merchan on his Truth Social platform, accusing him of bias against him and claiming that he “railroaded” Trump’s former CFO, Allen Weisselberg. Due to the alleged prejudice against him, Trump has requested that the case be moved to federal court.
This development raises questions about the balance between Trump’s First Amendment rights and the integrity of the legal proceedings. As the case unfolds, it will be essential to ensure that the former president’s rights are not compromised and that the legal process remains fair and impartial.