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Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan has banned former President Donald Trump from making disparaging remarks about witnesses, prosecutors, jurors, and court staff in his hush money case, which is set to go to trial on April 15. The gag order was requested by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and prohibits Trump from making statements that could interfere with the case.

The ruling came after Trump attacked Merchan, Bragg, Merchan’s daughter, and the prosecution’s star witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, in posts on Truth Social. Merchan described Trump’s statements as threatening and inflammatory towards various individuals involved in the case, including local and federal officials, court staff, prosecutors, and jurors.

Trump had made unfounded claims that a prosecutor on the case was placed there by President Biden and accused Merchan of being biased against him. He also called for the case to be moved to Staten Island, the only New York City borough that voted for him in both elections. Trump has repeatedly attacked judges and prosecutors in his ongoing legal battles, alleging political bias against him.

The Manhattan case against Trump involves 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a payment made to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and jury selection is set to begin on March 25. The ruling on the gag order comes as part of the ongoing legal battle between Trump and prosecutors.

Trump’s lawyers had argued against the gag order, stating that it would limit his ability to respond to attacks from his political opponents related to the case. However, they did not object to a separate request to withhold jurors’ names from the public. The case has become a key focus of Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, with Trump alleging political motives behind the charges brought against him in state court.

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