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Manhattan prosecutors say Trump gag order should stay in place to protect jurors and prosecutors

By Kara Scannell, CNN

(CNN) — Manhattan prosecutors are urging the judge overseeing Donald Trump’s criminal hush money case to keep the gag order that stops the former president from making statements about jurors, prosecutors and their family members in place, arguing threats against prosecutors have increased since the start of the trial.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office said in a new court filing that they do not oppose lifting the portion of the gag order that blocked Trump from making statements about witnesses, but they suggest they could prosecute Trump if his conduct is illegal under harassment or other laws.

“This change of circumstance does not mean that defendant has carte blanche to resume his reprehensible practice of publicly attacking individuals involved in litigation against him. But protections against such attacks will now derive from separate criminal-law protections against harassment or similar misconduct,” they wrote.

Trump’s attorneys asked Judge Juan Merchan to lift the gag order now that the trial is over. Last month, Trump was convicted of 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11.

Prosecutors argued the gag order itself is narrow and does not prevent Trump from discussing the case — even at the first presidential debate set for June 27 on CNN.

“The relevant question is not whether the orders prevent defendant from speaking freely about this case — they never have — but instead whether there is reason to preserve the orders’ narrowly tailored protections on specific participants in this criminal proceeding,” prosecutors wrote.

Trump’s lawyers told the judge that he would refrain from making statements about jurors, but prosecutors challenged that, writing, “There is good reason to question whether, absent judicial oversight, defendant will adhere to his counsel’s representation that he will not attack the jurors in this case.”

Restricting Trump’s comments on prosecutors, they argued, is still necessary and may continue to be after his sentencing since Trump said he will appeal the verdict.

Prosecutors, citing an affidavit from NYPD Sgt. Nicholas Pistilli, said that in 2024, the department’s threat unit identified 61 threats against District Attorney Alvin Bragg, his family and staff, with 25 of them coming in April, when the trial started, 24 in May, and seven in June. In addition, they wrote, the office has received nearly 500 threatening emails and phone calls since April 2024.

“The justification for this provision may well continue after sentencing because the counsel and staff members of the District Attorney’s Office who participated in this trial will continue to be engaged in any appeal, along with additional appellate staff; and this criminal proceeding will continue through the appeal that defendant has already announced he intends to pursue.”

This story has been updated with additional background information.

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