Judge Merchan Gives Trump Partial Relief from Gag Order Just in Time for Debate


Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing former President Donald Trump’s New York hush-money case, partially lifted a gag order he had placed on the GOP candidate, but he left an entirely unacceptable aspect of it in place.

CNBC reported Tuesday that Trump is now able to speak about witnesses and jurors from the trial, which resulted in a guilty verdict on 34 counts of falsifying business records being handed down on May 30. His sentencing hearing is set for July 11.

“But Merchan ruled that Trump is still bound by the order’s restrictions on speaking about lawyers and staff for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the court, plus any of their family members, if those statements could interfere with the case. Trump is allowed to speak about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg,” CNBC said.

Well, isn’t that convenient, with Trump’s presidential debate against President Joe Biden two days away?

A main point that the presumptive Republican nominee would no doubt want to make is that the lead prosecutor in Braggs’ case is former top Biden Justice Department official Matthew Colangelo.

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When asked by either CNN moderator Jake Tapper or Dana Bash about being a “convicted felon,” Trump would want to highlight that the four criminal prosecutions that he has faced this year all have a nexus at the Biden White House.

However, speaking about Colangelo would be in direct violation of the gag order, and with Merchan the sole official who will determine Trump’s sentence, which could include prison time, the candidate will certainly be very circumspect about mentioning any of Braggs’ attorneys.

Colangelo was first employed by New York Attorney General Letitia James and helped put together her civil fraud case against Trump, which resulted in a $450 million judgment against him.

Following his stint in James’ office, Colangelo went to work for the Biden DOJ in 2021, for two years becoming the agency’s third-highest-ranking official.

He then left the DOJ in December 2022 to become the lead prosecutor in Bragg’s hush money case against Trump, a case which that office, the DOJ, and the Federal Election Commission had previously declined to prosecute.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan wrote in a May 15 letter to James seeking information on Colangelo that his targeting of “President Biden’s chief political rival only adds to the perception that the Biden Justice Department is politicized and weaponized.”

George Washington Law School professor Jonathan Turley described Merchan’s decision to keep part of Trump’s gag order in place as “nonsense.”

“[Trump’s] gotten a bit of a half loaf here, but the question is, ‘Why is Merchan still operating this throttle control over what a presidential candidate can say or not say?'” Turley asked.

He noted when the trial is over, a gag order normally goes away.

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“To not acknowledge that this is a presidential campaign, and this is one of the big issues in that presidential campaign, I think, is really nonsense,” Turley said.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung in a Tuesday statement hammered Merchan for deciding not to remove the entire order.

“This is another unlawful decision by a highly conflicted judge, which is blatantly un-American as it gags President Trump, the leading candidate in the 2024 Presidential Election during the upcoming Presidential Debate on Thursday,” Cheung said.

It is high time to prevent New York state and the Biden DOJ from interfering any further in November’s election.

Enough is enough.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith