Home News Prosecutors push judge in Trump hush money case to include relatives in...

Prosecutors push judge in Trump hush money case to include relatives in gag order

Manhattan prosecutors on Monday expressed grave concern for the presiding judge’s daughter in Donald Trump’s Stormy Daniels hush money case — and asked the jurist to make clear “family is off-limits” or consider expanding a gag order in light of the former president’s “dangerous, violent, and reprehensible” rhetoric. 

“There is no constitutional right to target the family of this Court, let alone on the blatant falsehoods that have served as the flimsiest pretexts for defendant’s attacks. Defendant knows what he is doing, and everyone else does too. And we all know exactly what defendant intends because he has said for decades that it is part of his life philosophy to go after his perceived opponents’ as viciously and as violently’ as he can,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo wrote Monday.

“[He] promised very recently that ‘IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!’ He is carrying out that promise right now.”

Prosecutors have asked Merchan to clarify whether the partial gag order he issued last week included his own relatives and the DA’s after Trump targeted his daughter, Loren Merchan, on Truth Social, boosting a false rumor that she had been trashing him online and was profiting from his rulings at a digital agency that works on Democrat campaigns. A spokesman for the court system confirmed to The News that the account Trump referenced hasn’t belonged to her for more than a year

Trump is barred from publicly commenting on witnesses and potential witnesses in the hush money case headed to trial on April 15, jurors and potential jurors, prosecutorial staff and their relatives, and court staff and their families. The gag order does not include the DA or Merchan. 

Judge Juan Merchan poses for a picture in his chambers in New York, Thursday, March 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Judge Juan Merchan poses for a picture in his chambers in New York, Thursday, March 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“Defendant’s dangerous, violent, and reprehensible rhetoric fundamentally threatens the integrity of these proceedings and is intended to intimidate witnesses and trial participants alike including this Court,” Colangelo wrote, asking the judge to expand the order if it doesn’t include his and Bragg’s relatives to protect them “and to show all witnesses, prospective jurors, and other trial participants that the judicial system stands ready to protect them too.”

Trump’s lawyers have opposed expanding the gag order. They could not immediately be reached for comment. He’s pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsification of business records in the case. 

The targets of Trump’s online diatribes connected to his New York cases have been subjected to death threats and a torrent of abuse. Bomb squads have been called to the courthouses by Foley Square more than once.

Around the time of Trump’s indictment in March 2023, when he anticipated “death and destruction” were he to be arrested, Bragg and his office were inundated with as many as 600 threatening emails and calls a day — targeting not just the DA but members of the prosecution team and lower level employees associated with the case. The office has dealt with two bogus white powder threats.

Last October, when Trump focused his aim on Judge Arthur Engoron’s chief clerk, Allison Greenfield, in his separate civil fraud case, she began receiving 20 to 30 calls a day on her personal cellphone and even more messages across her social media accounts, more than half of them of antisemitic nature, according to the NYPD. 

On the day of closing arguments in the fraud case, proceedings were delayed when Engoron’s Nassau County home was targeted with a bogus bomb threat. The following month, after he found Trump liable for intentional large-scale fraud, white powder was sent to him at work, later deemed non-hazardous. 

This developing story will be updated. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here