Trump Is Gagged, but Only NOW Does the Judge Wag a Limp Finger at His Trial’s Biggest Trash Talkers

The entire time that Judge Juan Merchan has attempted to silence Donald Trump with a gag order, two of the chief witnesses against him have been free to trash talk the former president in podcasts, interviews, and on YouTube and TikTok. And have they ever. Now, and only now, has the judge in the case shaken a reproving forefinger at the trash talkers in chief of the Trump trial. 

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Trump’s attempt to set the record straight (as he sees it) by posting other people’s observations and stories on his Truth Social account has been met with a big fat $1,000 fine per offense for contempt of the court’s gag order. On Tuesday, Trump was found in contempt of court for nine violations of the gag order put on the defendant.

One month ago, while on “The View,” Stormy told that coven of magpies that she was “absolutely ready” to testify against Trump. She sat with the women to talk about her tell-all documentary called “Stormy.” 

Now, we’re sorry, Stormy, that your former attorney Michael Avenatti stole your money and is currently in prison, but even that guy says the gag order on Trump is outrageous. 

The former adult movie copulator has given multiple interviews to international reporters as well as domestic ones leading to the trial. Oddly, she hasn’t been brought up on extortion charges for her successful shakedown of Trump World and subsequent contractual violations. Weird. 

And then there’s former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who spent time in prison for lying to Congress multiple times, tax fraud, and other transgressions separate from this Manhattan trial. Every time Trump points this out he violates his gag order. If Trump were ever to post this story, he’d be hit with a $1,000 fine. 

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Trump is on trial and off the campaign trail because his payments to Cohen were marked as legal payments and not election payments—because they’re not election payments. Federal elections and Justice Department lawyers said the bookkeeping was fine. All was copacetic. 

Cohen has been on his YouTube podcast and TikTok channel in nightly sessions to talk about the Trump trial and other newsy items. This week, ABC News did an article about Cohen’s TikTok account and his livestreams, and as a result, Cohen said he’d reign in his Trump schtick.

Apparently, the judge got a look at Cohen’s TikTok videos. In his ruling on Trump’s gag order violations, Merchan wrote ”The restriction on extrajudicial statements is to protect the integrity of these proceedings by shielding those fearful of reprisal by the Defendant so that they may take part in these proceedings without concern.” Which is bassackwards, but he went on, “However, if a protected party turns that underlying purpose on its head, it becomes apparent that the protected party likely does not need to be protected by the Expanded Order.” 

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We know Trump has a big bullhorn, but these rules are to preserve the one guy who is wholly dependent on a trial being fair and whose very liberty is at stake. That guy isn’t Stormy Daniels, who has faced no charges for attempting to extort money from Trump, nor is it Michael Cohen, who is the guy who paid Stormy Daniels. It’s Donald Trump. We know it’s really hard to feel bad for a billionaire. But, come on, First Principles, people. Remember we’re looking for equal justice here. 

The whole point of a gag order is to “ensure a fair trial, to facilitate efficient administration of justice, and to prevent prejudicial information from reaching the jury pool,” the Free Speech Center at the Middle Tennessee University says. “If prosecutors use the press to broadcast inadmissible material in court to jurors, such as the administration of polygraph tests or results, then defendants may be denied their right to an impartial jury.”

I know, I know the entire New York City bar thinks Trump is big enough to fight his own battles and that by denying him a voice and violating his rights to a fair trial it will come out all right in the end, but that’s now how any of this is supposed to work. 

The media have called this case a “hush money” case, but one of our crafty commenters called it the Hush Trump case. Touché. When a judge shuts up the defendant but not the other trial participants, you can’t help but wonder if the fix is in. Where else will you read that in this censorious media world we’re living in? 

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