Trump Announces ‘Major Motion’ Filed in New York Appeals Court

Trump Announces ‘Major Motion’ Filed in New York Appeals Court
Former President Donald Trump and attorney Susan Necheles return from a break during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on May 9, 2024. (Angela Weiss-Pool/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed that his lawyers asked a New York state appellate court to issue a ruling on a judge’s gag order that prohibits him from speaking about certain individuals connected to his ongoing trial.

His team filed a motion on Wednesday, which has been sealed and is inaccessible, according to the court docket. The Manhattan district attorney’s office filed a response to the motion, but it was also sealed.

While speaking with reporters outside the courthouse on Thursday morning, President Trump confirmed the move. Anonymously sourced reports published Wednesday said that it was a motion to expedite the ruling.

“I just want to let you know that we’ve just filed a major motion in the appellate division concerning the absolutely unconstitutional gag order, where I’m essentially not allowed to talk to you about anything meaningful that’s going on in the case. And many good things are going on with the case. It shouldn’t have been filed,” he said.

During his comments to reporters, he did not go into specifics about the motion.

The former president is under a gag order that prohibits him from making public statements about potential witnesses, court staff, prosecutors’ staff, or family members. Judge Juan Merchan, who issued the order and later expanded it, ruled that President Trump violated his directive 10 times before threatening to jail the former president if he makes future comments that he believes violate that order.

Previously, the New York Court of Appeals rejected the former president’s bid to pause the trial while he battles the gag order. They also rejected an attempt to pause the enforcement of the order, which was issued in March after prosecutors requested it.

His lawyers have argued that the gag order violates the former president’s First Amendment right to free speech, noting that he is currently the leading Republican presidential candidate.

But earlier this week, Judge Merchan fined the former president for a 10th time for an April remark that he made to a media outlet about the Manhattan jury pool, which he said was “95 percent” Democratic. The judge then said that a $1,000 fine isn’t enough and that he might have to jail the former president, although he did not go into specifics about how that would look like.

“Your continued willful violations of this court’s orders threaten to interfere with the … administration of justice,” Judge Merchan said before issuing a warning about possible jail time.

The former president, in response, criticized the judge and wrote on Truth Social that he is now not allowed to respond publicly to “lies and false statements” made about him during the New York trial. It came after witness Stormy Daniels made salacious allegations about President Trump during her first trial appearance, which President Trump has denied.

According to emails reviewed by The Epoch Times, the Trump campaign also used the judge’s threat as a means to fundraise for his presidential campaign. “The liberal judge in New York just threatened to THROW ME IN JAIL,” read one of the emails, adding that they want him “in HANDCUFFS.”

During his remarks to reporters on Thursday, the former president also quoted multiple legal analysts’ commentary on the case to say that it should never have been brought against him. Those analysts, which President Trump read aloud from a piece of paper, stated prosecutors revived the case after more than seven years in a politicized attempt to harm his 2024 reelection campaign.

“‘I’ve been doing this for 60 years, and I don’t understand what crime he’s been charged with. Nobody understands this. I just don’t get the crime. There’s no evidence of any crime whatsoever. This is a sham,'” President Trump said, quoting retired Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz.

The trial is expected to last another two weeks. On Thursday, Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, again took the witness stand and was grilled by defense attorneys about whether she was using her allegations against President Trump to make money for herself and bolster her name recognition.

President Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels for her silence ahead of the 2016 election about the alleged encounter. President Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies Ms. Daniels’ claims.

The case is seen by some as the least consequential of the four criminal prosecutions President Trump faces. But the chances of the other three, going to trial before the election are growing more distant. He has pleaded not guilty in all the cases.

The former president’s cases in Georgia and Washington were paused by the respective judges overseeing them. Meanwhile, in a major legal win, a Florida federal judge suspended his classified documents case indefinitely after prosecutors revealed that the contents of an evidence box were inexplicably rearranged.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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