April 1, 2024

Jonathan Turley: Trump Should Appeal Latest Gag Order

Donald Trump does not seem to be able to avoid gag orders in his cases, but the latest one really hurt.

Trump was previously hit with a gag order in his civil case, but the idea of not being able to defend himself publicly in a federal indictment is a bit more damaging.

Fox News contributor and constitutional expert Jonathan Turley, after Trump was hit with a gag order by Judge Merchan in the Alvin Bragg hush-money case, has recommended that Trump appeal the gag order, which I am sure is already in the works.

Appeal It!

Last week, it was announced that Judge Merchan had slapped Trump with yet another gag order.

Trump immediately went on a rampage on Truth Social, with a rant that was borderline at best in terms of violating the order.

That aside, Turley believes that Trump needs to expedite an appeal of the gag order before this trial begins.

As part of that gag order, Trump has been prohibited from speaking about witnesses, which would include his former fixer, Michael Cohen.

Cohen has lied on the stand before, which Turley discussed, in part, stating, “Cohen’s appearance on the stand will only add to the lawfare claims given the recent view of a judge that he is a serial perjurer who appears to be continuing to game the legal system.”

Cohen has been publicly taunting Trump, yet Trump is not able to defend himself.

Case in point, Cohen recently stated, “I want to thank Judge Merchan for imposing the gag order as I have been under relentless assault from Donald’s MAGA supporters.

“Nevertheless, knowing Donald as well as I do, he will seek to defy the gag order by employing others within his circle to do his bidding, regardless of consequence.”

Trump has also been blocked from discussing others as well, including lead prosecutor Matthew Colangelo.

On this, Turley wrote, “The inclusion of Colangelo in the order is equally problematic. Trump has campaigned on his involvement in a variety of cases targeting him in his federal and state systems.

“His movement between cases is viewed by many as evidence of a ‘get Trump’ campaign of prosecutors. He is currently the most talked about figure that many, including Trump, view as showing coordination between these cases and investigations.”

Even though history is against Trump on this matter, Turley stated that he would “still try to appeal it.”

He added, “The odds always run against challenging such orders and appellate courts are disinclined to even review such orders. However, there is a legitimate free speech concern raised by this order that should be reviewed by higher courts.”

I agree with Turley, but Trump, at least to a point, has brought this gag order upon himself with some of the things he has said in previous cases that led to his supporters attacking and threatening court members.

At the outset of the first civil trial, I stated that the best thing Trump’s attorneys could have done for the former president was to take his phone away from him and only allow him to post criticisms that were either crafted by his attorneys or approved by them.

Unfortunately, Trump did not take that advice and not only ended up with gag orders but several violations of those orders.

I firmly agree with Turley in this matter that the gag order is over the top, as Trump should be able to defend himself against witness statements and claims by the prosecutors, but, like Turley, I have a feeling that Trump’s past statements will doom his appeal to defeat.

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