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Manhattan DA Bragg Seeks Gag Order On Trump Ahead Of Trial

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg appears to be taking a page from the playbook of other Democratic officials involved in prosecuting former President Donald Trump over various allegations.

Bragg is requesting that a court place a gag order on Trump ahead of his upcoming trial, ostensibly to protect jurors and witnesses in a case related to hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump “has a long history of making public and inflammatory remarks about the participants in various judicial proceedings against him, including jurors, witnesses, lawyers and court staff,” the DA’s office wrote in its Monday court filing.

In addition, the filing stated that Trump’s history of public attacks “pose a significant and imminent threat to the orderly administration of this criminal proceeding.”

Trump has previously faced partial gag orders in both his federal election interference case and his civil fraud trial in New York. In these instances, Trump personally targeted the judge, the judge’s spouse, and the court’s clerk, even going as far as sharing the clerk’s name, photo, and a link to her personal Instagram account, Mediaite reported.

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Trump has entered a plea of not guilty to the 34-count indictment filed against him in New York, which pertains to allegations of falsifying business documents to conceal payments made to Stormy Daniels, with whom he reportedly had an affair shortly after the birth of his youngest child, Barron Trump. ABC News reported that Trump has already launched attacks on “Judge Juan Merchan, as well as witnesses such as Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.”

The trial is currently scheduled to begin March 25.

Last year, Daniels filed a complaint with New York officials alleging that one of Trump’s attorneys in the case, Joe Tacopina, had a conflict of interest due to his previous dealings with her. However, the New York attorney grievance committee dismissed the complaint.

“Following an investigation of the allegations in the above-referenced complaint filed against you, the Committee has determined to take no further action,” Jorge Dopico, chief attorney for the Attorney Grievance Committee of the First Judicial Department, told Tacopina in a letter.

Tacopina had promised not to cross-examine Daniels should she testify in court.

“Now both the court and the disciplinary committee have ruled that there was no conflict or ethical violation at all, as I have said from day one. It seems that Stormy Daniels and her joke of a lawyer’s 15 minutes of fame have come to an appropriate end,” Tacopina told The Hill in an email following the ethics panel’s decision.

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Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to payments he made to Cohen, his personal attorney and former fixer, for Daniels’ silence regarding claims that she had an affair with him.

Trump has denied the affair and entered a not-guilty plea.

Tacopina’s involvement sparked questions at the time of Trump’s April arraignment. In a letter, Daniels’s lawyer, Clark Brewster, disclosed that Daniels had previously gotten in touch with Tacopina’s legal office to inquire about the hush money arrangement.

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Tacopina has maintained for a long time that he never met with Daniels and never represented her.

“I trust that the grievance committee gave the complaint diligent and careful consideration,” Brewster said in an email. “In reporting the facts to the committee, I simply felt obliged under the rules of professional conduct to disclose the facts implicating a rule violation and thereupon leave it to a well-constituted committee to render its judgment.”

Merchan ruled in pretrial motions earlier this month against Trump’s bid to have the charges dismissed. Trump has also attempted to get the trial date moved back as he appears to be on a glide path to the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

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