Trump Pushes the Limits of His Gag Order in Post-Trial Rant

Victor J. Blue-Pool/Getty Images
Victor J. Blue-Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump just can’t help himself.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan handed down a gag order last month—which he expanded last week—barring the former president from badmouthing or threatening jurors, potential witnesses, attorneys, court staff, or their family members, due to Trump’s penchant for making “threatening, inflammatory, [or] denigrating” statements about those who dare cross him.

Still, the 45th commander-in-chief—now facing 34 felony charges for falsifying business records related to, among other things, a $130,000 payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels to shut her up in the days leading to the 2016 presidential election about a one-night stand she says they had—was unable to hold back on Monday.

After opening statements were presented in his criminal trial, the first-ever for a former U.S. president, Trump addressed reporters in the hallway outside the 15th floor courtroom and may have violated the gag order in the process.

“I got indicted. I’m the leading candidate, I’m beating Biden,” Trump complained to journalists gathered outside.

He then lit into his former lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, who is expected to be called as a witness, describing him as a crook who went to prison for “things that had nothing to do with me.”

Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison for tax evasion and lying about the Stormy Daniels payment, as well as a $150,000 payment to Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, which he said he did to protect his then-boss.

Posting to X following Trump’s courthouse attacks, Cohen said, “Hey Von ShitzInPantz… your attacks of me stink of desperation.”

“We are all hoping that you take the stand in your defense,” he added.

Trump then bellyached that his trial is taking him off the campaign trail, saying, “I should be in Georgia now. I should be in Florida now.”

“I should be a lot of different places right now campaigning, and I’m sitting here—and this will go on for a long time,” he went on. “It’s very unfair. The judge is conflicted. As you know, it’s very unfair, what’s going on.”

Trump also tested the limits of his gag order with regard to former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who came out of retirement to work on the case and may now be called as a witness during the trial.

He claimed that Pomerantz, a well-respected attorney, did “bad stuff,” and was “caught lying,” taking a page out of his usual playbook and deeming the entire case a “witch hunt.”

“I did nothing wrong,” Trump complained, claiming the trial was simply a ruse to “keep me off the campaign trail.”

“So far, it’s not working because my vote numbers are higher than they’ve said, because the public understands that it’s a witch hunt,” Trump insisted before walking off. “Thank you very much.”

Snoozy Trump Wakes Up as Prosecutor Calls Him a Liar

Tuesday’s proceedings will begin with a contempt hearing over accusations from prosecutors that Trump has already violated the gag at least seven times. The former president has gone after, among others, Merchan’s adult daughter, who he sees as a Trump “hater” thanks to her professional work as a political consultant whose clients included Democrats.

The contempt hearing was scheduled well before Trump’s rant on Monday afternoon, an abbreviated day in court to allow a juror with a toothache to visit the dentist.

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