Donald Trump Has a New Problem
The civil case that may determine that Donald Trump raped a woman in 1996 will go to the jury as soon as today – and it’s not the only bad news for Trump just from the New York courts.
On Monday, the judge presiding over Trump’s hush money case in New York, Judge Juan Merchan, restricted Trump from posting about some evidence ahead of the trial. Trump was indicted in early April on 34 counts that he falsified business records in the arrangement of payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump pled not guilty to all of the charges, and a trial is expected to begin next year.
According to NBC News, Mercan’s order stated that “ “any materials and information provided by the People to the Defense in accordance with their discovery obligations … shall be used solely for the purposes of preparing a defense in this matter.”
That means that Donald Trump cannot, say, refer to evidence from discovery in Truth Social posts or in rally speeches. The order further said that Trump “shall not copy, disseminate or disclose” any of that material to third parties, including social media platforms.
The order specifically mentioned “social media platforms, including, but not limited, to Truth Social, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, or YouTube.” Trump would presumably face contempt of court charges, should he violate the order.
However, the judge was clear that this is not a full gag order, and Donald Trump can still talk about the case, as long as he didn’t specifically talk about evidence from discovery.
“I’m straining to give him every opportunity to make his candidacy,” Judge Merchan said last week, per ABC News. “This is not a gag order.”
Not being able to denounce his enemies, especially as the trial approaches publicly, would appear to be Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.
Trump is also only allowed to review such sensitive material only in the presence of his attorneys.
In the ruling, Judge Mercan mostly went along with a motion from prosecutors in the case.
“Donald J. Trump has a longstanding and perhaps singular history of attacking witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, trial jurors, grand jurors, judges, and others involved in legal proceedings against him, putting those individuals and their families at considerable safety risk,” the DA’s office had said in a filing earlier this month.
Trump Has More Problems
“In this country, even the most powerful person can be held accountable in court,” Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan said in her closing argument. “No one, not even a former president, is above the law.”
“I’m not going to stand here and tell you how much you should award E. Jean Carroll in damages,” Kaplan added, per CNN. “What is the price for decades of living alone without companionship? No one to cook dinner with, no one to walk your dog with, no one to watch TV with. And feeling for decades that you’re dirty and unworthy… I’m not going to put a number on that.
“People have very strong feelings about Donald Trump. That’s obvious,” Trump’s attorney Tacopina, who also represents him in the hush money case. “There’s a time and a secret place to do that: it’s called a ballot box during an election.”
“What they want is for you to hate him enough to ignore the facts… all objective evidence cuts against her.”
Donald Trump did not appear publicly at the trial, and his attorneys did not present a defense case. A deposition he delivered in the case was played during the trial, and the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape was played for the jury.
Jury deliberations in the case are expected to begin as early as Thursday.
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.