Shropshire Star

New York top court declines to hear Trump’s gag order appeal

The former president was fined £7,800 for violating the gag order during his hush money trial in New York.

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New York’s top court has declined to hear Donald Trump’s gag order appeal, leaving the restrictions in place following his felony conviction last month.

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals found that the order does not raise “substantial” constitutional issues that would warrant an immediate intervention.

The decision is the latest legal setback for the Republican former president, who has repeatedly railed against the gag order, which prevents him from commenting on witnesses, jurors and others who were involved in the hush money case.

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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump has been prevented from commenting on witnesses, jurors and others who were involved in the hush money case (Carlos Osorio/AP)

But it could be short-lived as the trial judge, Juan M Merchan, is expected to rule soon on a defence request to lift the gag order.

A Trump campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, said on Tuesday that the former president’s legal team would “continue to fight against the unconstitutional Gag Order imposed by Justice Merchan”.

Trump’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal with the state’s high court on May 15, during the former president’s landmark criminal trial.

They argued that the gag order restricted Trump’s “core political speech on matters of central importance at the height of his Presidential campaign”.

But the Court of Appeals disagreed. In a decision list posted on Tuesday, the court said it would not automatically hear the case, writing that “no substantial constitutional question is directly involved”.

Trump’s lawyers were essentially seeking a shortcut to expedite their appeal, which was rejected by the state’s mid-level appeals court last month. They now have 30 days to file a motion for leave to appeal, according to court spokesperson Gary Spencer.

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Donald Trump is scheduled to be sentenced in mid-July after he was convicted of 34 counts of falsifying business records (Dave Sanders/The New York Times/AP)

Mr Merchan imposed the gag order on March 26, a few weeks before the start of the trial, after prosecutors raised concerns about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s tendency to attack people involved in his cases.

During the trial, Mr Merchan held Trump in contempt of court and fined him 10,000 dollars (£7,800) for violating the gag order.

The judge threatened to put Trump in jail if he did it again.

The order remains in effect weeks after the conclusion of the trial, which ended with Trump’s conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records arising from what prosecutors said was an attempt to cover up a hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election.

Ms Daniels claims she had a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier, which he denies.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.

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