Trump legal team files "major motion" challenging "absolutely unconstitutional" gag order
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Quick Hit:

Former President Donald Trump's legal team has filed a "major motion" with a New York appellate court, challenging the constitutionality of a gag order imposed on him in his ongoing criminal "hush money" trial. 

Key Details:

  • Trump's defense team is seeking an expedited ruling from an intermediate appeals court or permission to appeal directly to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals.
  • The gag order, imposed by Judge Juan Merchan, prohibits Trump from making statements about witnesses, jurors, attorneys, and others associated with the "hush money" case. The order however, has not been extended to witnesses in the case, like Michael Cohen, who pled guilty to lying to Congress, yet has been portrayed as D.A. Alvin Bragg's "star witness" in the case while attacking former President Trump on cash-grab TikTok livestreams.
  • Speaking on the motion outside of the courthouse Thursday morning, Trump said: "We've just filed a major motion in the appellate division concerning the absolutely unconstitutional gag order, where I am essentially not allowed to talk to you about anything meaningful that's going on in the case—and many good things are going on with the case—it shouldn't have been filed."

Diving Deeper:

Trump's legal team is challenging the limited gag order on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. The Appellate Division previously rejected Trump's attempt to pause the trial while he fights the gag order, as well as his attempt to pause enforcement of the order. The defense filings are currently under seal, with sources familiar with the strategy speaking anonymously.

The Manhattan district attorney's office has filed a response, which is also under seal. Trump has repeatedly criticized the gag order, claiming his free speech rights are being "unfairly taken" from him. Judge Merchan has held Trump in criminal contempt over ten separate remarks or social posts made during the trial, which is now in its 14th day.

Speaking outside of the courthouse before proceedings began, Trump commented on the motion, saying: "We've just filed a major motion in the appellate division concerning the absolutely unconstitutional gag order, where I am essentially not allowed to talk to you about anything meaningful that's going on in the case—and many good things are going on with the case—it shouldn't have been filed."

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