Trump Demands Trial Judge Remove Gag Order Before Walking Into Court

Trump Demands Trial Judge Remove Gag Order Before Walking Into Court
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media before he enters the courtroom for his trial as jury selection continues at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 19, 2024. (Sarah Yenesel/Pool/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump on Friday said that he should be campaigning instead of sitting in a courtroom as he again called for the judge in the case to remove a gag order.

Before entering the courtroom in Manhattan on Friday, he told reporters that he is “sitting in a courthouse all day long, while describing the situation as “unfair.” Instead, he should be in places like Pennsylvania and other states while he is the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

A jury of 12 New Yorkers was seated Thursday in the trial, propelling the proceedings closer to opening statements and the start of weeks of testimony. The court is currently selecting alternate jurors Friday.

“New York is going down as a very corrupt place to do business,” President Trump told reporters.

The former president also said that a gag order that was imposed on him by New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan several weeks ago should be lifted as it impedes on his right to speak freely. The order was issued to prevent the former president from speaking about witnesses and certain other individuals involved in the case.

On Thursday, prosecutors under District Attorney Alvin Bragg accused the former president of violating the gag order and urged the court to find him in contempt.

In the filing, prosecutor Chris Conroy asked Justice Merchan to hold President Trump in contempt of violating the gag order, asking him to sanction the former president $1,000 for each alleged violation. “Defendant’s decision to specifically target individuals whom this Court’s order protects is a deliberate flouting of this Court’s directives,” he wrote.

“The gag order has to come off. People are allowed to speak about me and I have a gag order,” President Trump said Friday.

The justice has said he will decide on the requests on April 23 regarding three other alleged gag order violations.

Trump lawyer Emil Bove has said that Michael Cohen, a former lawyer, “has been attacking President Trump in public statements,” and that the former president was just responding to his allegations.

Because the first-ever trial of a former American president is unfolding in New York during this year’s race for the White House, the presumptive Republican nominee will spend his days in court confronted by allegations about his personal life while simultaneously campaigning to reclaim the office he held for four years.

“Everybody’s outraged by it,” he told reporters Thursday. “You know the whole world’s watching this New York scam.”

He also expressed frustration over the courtroom temperature due to it being cold. “I’m sitting here for days now, from morning ‘til night, in that freezing room—freezing, everybody was freezing in there—and all for this,” President Trump said.

Jury Selected

The jury of Manhattanites includes a sales professional, a software engineer, a security engineer, a teacher, a speech therapist, multiple lawyers, an investment banker, and a retired wealth manager.

One juror, a man who works in investment banking, earlier described himself as “ambivalent” about President Trump, adding, “I might not like some of his policies, but there has been some good” for the country.

A woman picked for the jury said she thought Trump seemed “very selfish and self-serving,” adding, “I don’t really appreciate that from any public servant.” Defense lawyers were out of peremptory strikes, which would allow them to dismiss a juror without giving a reason.

Some legal analysts have said that it’s unlikely President Trump will get a jury pool filled with his supporters in Manhattan, as the area overwhelmingly voted in favor of President Biden in 2020.

The judge has suggested that opening statements in the criminal trial could begin as early as Monday, before prosecutors begin laying out their case alleging a scheme to cover up negative stories President Trump feared would hurt his 2016 presidential campaign. He faces 34 counts of falsifying business records to which the former president has pleaded not guilty.

After dismissing from the jury the nurse who had already been selected, Justice Merchan ordered journalists in court not to report prospective jurors’ answers to questions about their current and former employers.

“We just lost, probably, what probably would have been a very good juror for this case, and the first thing that she said was she was afraid and intimidated by the press, all the press, and everything that had happened,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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