Trump to Receive a Legal Shakedown on Not Harassing Witnesses
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association Convention in Indianapolis, on April 14, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaMary ManleyIn light of the former president’s “longstanding history” of harassing witnesses involved in his legal cases, a US judge recently issued a protective order following a meeting between Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors during which routine evidence was shared.Former US President Donald Trump was ordered on Thursday to appear for a legal lesson later this month to ensure he understands the full risks of misusing evidence against witnesses.The order – tied to his April 4 indictment – was issued by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan, who will specifically inform Trump he will be held in contempt if he violates regulations that restrain him from intimidating witnesses. Trump will be appearing virtually before the court on May 23.The protective order Merchan laid down on Trump comes at the request of New York prosecutors, who argue the former president has a history of making “harassing, embarrassing, and threatening statements” about people he is legally entangled with.
“[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,” Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw wrote, adding that such behavior can put “individuals and their families at a considerable safety risk.”
Prosecutors are hoping to prohibit Trump from his usual Trumpisms, by restricting him from posting evidence to social media or third parties not involved in the legal proceedings.Merchan agreed to have Trump appear via video as a means to avoid having to implement presidential-level security measures for the former commander-in-chief. While Trump will be joining virtually, his lawyers, prosecutors and the presiding judge will be present in the courtroom.During Trump’s April indictment, serious security concerns had been raised and prompted the closure of multiple Manhattan roadways.AmericasTrump’s Presidential Campaign Hauls in Over $15 Million in Post-Indictment Donations18 April, 13:21 GMTMerchan has made clear that he is not attempting to infringe on Trump’s right to free speech, and that the law lesson Trump is set to receive should not be seen as a gag order.“I’m bending over backwards and straining to make sure that he is given every opportunity possible to advance his candidacy and to be able to speak in furtherance of his candidacy,” Merchan said. “The last thing I want to do is infringe on his or anybody else’s First Amendment rights.”The virtual hearing was also posted to the court’s calendar just a day after Trump’s CNN town hall appearance, during which he lambasted the court ruling that found him liable of defaming and sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll in the mid 1990s. He called the allegations a “fake story, made up story” and labeled Carroll a “whack job.”During his town hall appearance the former president also made claims that New York is a state where one cannot receive a “fair trial,” and claimed the judge presiding over the trial was a “horrible Clinton-appointed judge.”