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Trump on gag order that could send him to jail: "I'm not allowed to defend myself"

While the prosecution's star witness is allowed to speak freely, the former president is barred from doing the same.

Trump's gag order

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“I’m not allowed to talk, but people can talk about me,” former President Donald Trump said as he left the second day of the trial he faces in New York in connection with payments made to porn actress Stormy Daniels. The payments lead to an indictment for allegedly conspiring to influence the 2016 election. “I’m not allowed to defend myself,” Trump said, complaining about the gag order imposed by Judge Juan Merchan a few weeks ago.

The second day of the trial against the former president focused on prosecutors’ allegations that Trump violated the gag order imposed by Judge Merchan. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg asserted that Trump violated the gag order ten times and asked for a total fine of $10,000, demanding $1,000 for each alleged violation.

The gag order against Trump prohibits him from talking about likely witnesses, court personnel, jurors, prosecutors, and family members, including Judge Merchan’s daughter, whom Trump has spoken about, noting that she has worked for top Democrats. However, Trump is allowed to talk about Merchan and prosecutor Bragg, who are not included in that gag order and should not be as long as they hold public office.

Double standard

While it makes sense in these types of cases to limit the defendant’s comments to protect jurors, it is a clear double standard when the prosecution’s star witness does not have a gag order, can speak freely about Trump in the media, and publicly accuse him without being under oath.

What sense does it make for the judge to impose an order to protect Michael Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness, who, in recent weeks, has made several comments attacking the former president? “Every time Donald opens his mouth, you know that something nontruthful is coming out,” Cohen said a few days ago in an interview for MSNBC.

Trump responded to those statements by calling him a “disgraced attorney” and a “sleaze bag,” but the former president’s comments do pose a problem for prosecutor Alvin Bragg. The fact that Cohen, who is fairly well known in the mainstream media, is allowed to make all sorts of accusations, but the former president is not allowed to comment on those statements, does not help the trial look fair.

The former president’s lawyer has repeatedly recalled that Cohen has in the past pleaded guilty to lying under oath, that he has written books and made podcasts taking advantage of his time working with Trump, and that, therefore, his financial success depends on “destroying” the president.

Will the judge dare to send Trump to jail?

Trump has been characterized by his poor ability to curb his comments, and even on occasions when his lawyers recommend that he remain silent, the former president is not easy to control. In this case, he will also have to remain silent while being attacked by the prosecution’s main witness, a matter that, for many, is clearly unfair, so it seems rather difficult to expect Trump to say nothing.

For some, the question is whether Judge Merchan will dare to jail the former president for disobeying a gag order that has generated considerable criticism.