The Manhattan judge who presided over Donald Trump’s arraignment Tuesday warned the former president to not make statements that could incite violence – but stopped short of issuing a gag order in the case.
Trump, 76, and the witnesses that prosecutors intend to call should both, “refrain from making statements likely to incite violence or create civil unrest,” Judge Juan Merchan said during the hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Prosecutor Christopher Conroy raised Trump’s recent use of incendiary language on his Truth Social media platform, highlighting a number of the posts during the proceeding and handing the judge seven examples printed on paper.
The posts included an image Trump shared of himself “wielding a baseball bat at the head of the district attorney,” and another in which he threatened his then-looming indictment could trigger “death and destruction.”
Because of the posts, Connolly said, prosecutors are working with Trump’s attorneys to draw up a protective order that would bar the ex-prez from posting sensitive information turned over to his legal team as part of the discovery process in the case.
The order currently being hashed out would bar Trump from providing the discovery material to any third party and from posting it on social media.
Trump would also be required to review any shared sensitive material in the presence of his attorneys, and would not be allowed to take physical copies of such documents with him.
Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, replied by claiming the grand jury process was riddled with leaks. He argued the prosecution’s star witness, Michael Cohen, had addressed reporters about his testimony from the steps of the building where the grand jury met.
Blanche also raised that a former Manhattan prosecutor involved in a grand jury investigation of Trump left the office and wrote a book that detailed the process, referring to Mark Pomerantz, who abruptly quit in February 2022.
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