New York's Top Court Declines Trump's Gag Order Appeal

Court of Appeals finds gag order in hush-money trial doesn't raise 'substantial' constitutional issues
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 18, 2024 10:45 AM CDT
New York's Top Court Declines Trump's Gag Order Appeal
Former President Trump speaks at a campaign event on Saturday in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

New York's top court declined on Tuesday to hear Donald Trump's gag order appeal, leaving the restrictions in place following his felony conviction last month. As the AP reports, the Court of Appeals found that the order doesn't raise "substantial" constitutional issues that would warrant an immediate intervention. The decision is the latest legal setback for the 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 revolving around Stormy Daniels. But it could be short-lived. The trial judge, Juan M. Merchan, is expected to rule soon on a defense request to lift the gag order.

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 wouldn't 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 midlevel appeals court last month. They now have 30 days to file a motion for leave to appeal, according to a court rep.

Merchan imposed the gag order on March 26, a few weeks before the start of the trial, after prosecutors raised concerns about Trump's tendency to attack people involved in his cases. 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 porn actor Daniels just before the 2016 election. Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.

(More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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