Prosecution opposes termination of Trump’s gag order in hush money case

NEW YORK — Prosecutors on Wednesday opposed the termination of a gag order preventing Donald Trump from going on the attack against trial participants, saying their reasons for requesting it — including preventing “actual harm” to the integrity of the historic proceedings — had not abated.

In a letter, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo asked Justice Juan Merchan to set a briefing schedule so both sides could formally submit their arguments.

“[The] Court has an obligation to protect the integrity of these proceedings and the fair administration of justice at least through the sentencing hearing and the resolution of any post-trial motions,” Colangelo wrote.

The prosecution’s request was aimed at an “immediate” end to the gag order after Trump’s team wrote the judge with the request late Tuesday, asking him to let their client speak his mind now that his trial is over.

“Now that the trial is concluded, the concerns articulated by the government and the Court do not justify continued restrictions on the First Amendment rights of President Trump who remains the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election and the American people,” Trump attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove wrote.

Trump, 77, was found guilty of falsifying business records May 30 for disguising his payback to Michael Cohen for issuing hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels less than two weeks before the 2016 election as part of a conspiracy to hide information from the electorate. He has vowed to appeal the conviction, which marks the first of a U.S. president.

He’s expected to be named the Republican nominee in this year’s election — with that expected to happen just days after his sentencing slated for July 11.

Merchan implemented the gag order before the trial started, prohibiting Trump from making public comments about witnesses, including Cohen and Daniels, jurors, and members of the prosecution team. In the order, the judge cited Trump’s history of attacks against people involved in his cases.

The judge expanded the order to include the relatives of all involved after Trump targeted his daughter online, boosting baseless rumors that she was dragging him on Twitter and profiting from his prosecution at her job as a Democrat consultant. During the trial, Trump was fined $10,000 for numerous violations and threatened with jail time.

Blanche and a spokeswoman for prosecutors declined to comment.