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Trump seeking to fast-track challenge to gag order in his hush money trial

todayMay 9, 2024

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(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is seeking to fast-track a challenge to the constitutionality of the limited gag order imposed on him by the judge overseeing his criminal hush money trial in New York.

Trump’s defense team on Wednesday asked an intermediate appeals court to issue a ruling on an expedited basis, or, alternatively, to grant them permission to appeal directly to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.

The Appellate Division previously rejected Trump’s attempt to pause the trial while he fights the limited gag order, which prohibits Trump from making statements about witnesses, jurors, attorneys, and others associated with the hush money case. It also rejected his attempt to pause enforcement of the gag order.

This time, Trump is taking on the order itself on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, according to sources familiar with the strategy who agreed to speak anonymously because the defense filings are under seal.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office filed a response but it, too, is under seal.

A spokesperson for the office declined to comment to ABC News.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the limited gag order imposed by Judge Juan Merchan, claiming his free speech rights are being “unfairly taken” from him.

Judge Merchan has held Trump in criminal contempt over 10 separate remarks or social posts he has made during the trial, which will enter its 14th day on Thursday.

Merchan warned Trump this week that future violations of the gag order could result in jail time.

“It appears that the $1,000 fines are not serving as a deterrent; therefore, going forward, this Court will have to consider a jail sanction if recommended,” Merchan said Monday. “Mr. Trump, it’s important to understand that the last thing I want to do is to put you in jail. You are the former President of the United States and possibly the next President, as well.”

Trump is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records to hide the reimbursement of a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

The former president has denied all wrongdoing.

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