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Manhattan DA urges judge to expand Trump gag order over ‘dangerous, violent’ rhetoric

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s (D) office on Monday condemned former President Trump’s recent attacks against his hush money judge’s daughter, re-upping a demand that the judge expand or clarify Trump’s gag order to protect her.

“Defendant’s dangerous, violent, and reprehensible rhetoric fundamentally threatens the integrity of these proceedings and is intended to intimidate witnesses and trial participants alike— including this Court,” prosecutor Matthew Colangelo wrote in court papers filed Monday.

Judge Juan Merchan imposed a gag order against Trump last week that limits his attacks against court staff, line prosecutors, jurors and witnesses as his April 15 trial in the hush money case — his first criminal trial — approaches.

Trump has continued to post about Merchan’s daughter since the judge refused to delay the trial, leaving the parties sparring over the bounds of Trump’s restrictions and whether they apply to her.

Bragg has argued the judge should clarify or expand the existing language so it prevents Trump from attacking both the judge’s and Bragg’s families. Trump’s team pushed back in their own filing Monday, insisting such a change to the gag order would only further violate the presumptive Republican nominee’s First Amendment rights.

“President Trump has not violated the gag order, and expanding the gag order would exacerbate the existing and ongoing constitutional violations that the order is inflicting,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche wrote.

Prosecutors cited more than a half-dozen of the former president’s Truth Social posts over the past week, including ones in which he attacks the judge’s daughter over her employment at a progressive digital agency that has worked with the Biden-Harris campaign.

“This issue is not complicated. Family members of trial participants must be strictly off- limits,” Colangelo wrote on Monday.

“Defendant’s insistence to the contrary bespeaks a dangerous sense of entitlement to instigate fear and even physical harm to the loved ones of those he sees in the courtroom,” he continued.

“This Court should immediately make clear that defendant is prohibited from making or directing others to make public statements about family members of the Court, the District Attorney, and all other individuals mentioned in the Order.”

After receiving guidance from a state ethics advisory committee, the judge last year declined Trump’s demand for recusal because of his daughter’s employment.

Trump’s lawyers on Monday signaled they would seek to file a new recusal motion “based on changed circumstances and newly discovered evidence.”

Prosecutors also requested the judge formally warn Trump that “continued harassing or disruptive conduct” will cause him to lose access to the names of his trial jurors. Under the judge’s current orders, Trump will have access to their names and only his attorneys will have access to their addresses.

Trump is charged in the case with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with covering up a hush money payment in advance of the 2016 presidential election to a porn star who alleged an extramarital affair with Trump. Trump, who denies the affair, pleaded not guilty.

Updated 5:06 p.m.

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