The New York judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s criminal case has set his trial date just weeks after the Republican presidential primary on March 25, 2024.
And they claim these trials are not political attacks on Trump.
Trump appeared virtually before Judge Juan Merchan with his attorney, Todd Blanche.
Merchan reviewed the terms of a protective order prohibiting Trump from sharing any evidence his attorneys received from the prosecutor.
According to the protective order, such evidence is not allowed to be shared or posted to “any news or social media platforms, including, but not limited, to Truth Social, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, or YouTube, without prior approval from the Court.”
Trump accused the judge of violating his First Amendment rights with the protective order.
The 45th president also accused Merchan of engaging in “ELECTION INTERFERENCE” by setting trial slap bang in the middle of the Republican presidential primary.
Trump said the judge “violated” his First Amendment rights by implementing the protective order. He also accused Merchan of engaging in “ELECTION INTERFERENCE” by setting the trial in the middle of the Republican presidential primary.
Trump later took to Truth Social, writing:
“Just had New York County Supreme Court hearing where I believe my First Amendment Rights, “Freedom of Speech,” have been violated, and they forced upon us a trial date of March 25, right in the middle of Primary season. Very unfair, but this is exactly what the Radical Left Democrats wanted. It’s called ELECTION INTERFERENCE, and nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before!!!”
Blanche also echoed Trump’s concerns about the protective order.
“President Trump is running for president of the United States and is the leading contender,” Blanche told the judge.
“He is very much concerned that his First Amendment rights are being violated.”
However, while Merchan said the protective order is not a gag order, the order effectively does the same job of silencing the former president, not to mention Trump’s criminal trial is set in the middle of the Republican primary.
“It’s certainly not a gag order, and it’s not my intention to impede Mr. Trump from campaigning for president,” Merchan said.
“He is free to defend himself against these charges. He is free to campaign. He’s free to do just about anything that does not violate the terms of this protective order,” he added.
“He understands that he has to comply with the order, and if he doesn’t do so, he’s violating your order,” Blanche told the judge.
“It is certainly not my intention in any way to impede Mr. Trump’s ability to campaign for president of the United States,” Merchan said.
Merchan ordered Trump’s attorneys to submit any defense motions by August 29.
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