According to Bloomberg, State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan's ordered that anyone with access to the evidence in the case cannot "copy, disseminate or disclose” the evidence to any third party, including social media, without court approval.
The judge ordered that Trump is only allowed to review “limited” materials “in the presence of defense counsel, but the defendant shall not be permitted to copy, photograph, transcribe or otherwise independently possess the evidence," according to the judge’s order.
The order also states that "any materials and information provided by the People to the Defense in accordance with their discovery obligations ... shall be used solely for the purposes of preparing a defense in this matter."
Additionally, Trump is also forbidden from publicly discussing witnesses or evidence in the case.
The gag order comes as Trump has declared his candidacy for president in 2024 to challenge Joe Biden. Biden remains free to discuss the allegations made in the case against his potential opponent, but the gag order leaves Trump unable to respond.
According to NBC, prosecutors originally claimed they were not seeking a gag order against Trump, rather they just wanted to make sure he did not misuse their evidence. The DA's office wrote in a court filing last month, “Donald J. 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, putting those individuals and their families at considerable safety risk.”
They added that the “Defendant has a constitutional right to speak publicly about this case, and the People do not seek to infringe upon that right.”
Last week, lawyers for the former president and current presidential candidate argued in a filing that the DA's requested order would do exactly that writing, “The People’s Proposed Protective Order infringes upon President Trump’s First Amendment right to freely discuss his own character and qualifications for federal office and the First Amendment rights of the American people to hear President Trump’s side of the story.”
The case involves an alleged $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels to keep her from revealing an alleged affair between her and Trump.
In March, the former president was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury and he has pleaded not guilty to all 34 charges and stated he did not have an extramarital affair.
Last week, Trump’s lawyers also filed paperwork to have the case transferred to federal court.
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