Judge directs Michael Cohen to zip it on Trump, including his disparaging TikTok videos

At the close of the 15th day of the trial of N.Y. v. Trump, Judge Juan Merchan directed New York prosecutors to instruct Michael Cohen to stop making comments about the case and former President Trump but did not impose a gag order. Merchan imposed a gag order on the former president that prevents him from speaking about the witnesses, the jury and any prosecutors other than Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Cohen, his ex-lawyer, is expected to take the witness stand Monday. Cohen has been making TikTok videos disparaging Trump and has been spotted wearing a T-shirt depicting Trump behind bars. Because of the gag order in place, Trump is not allowed to respond publicly, though he has broken that order several times. In court Friday, Trump’s lawyers argued Cohen should also be restrained by a gag order. But Merchan told the prosecutors to tell Cohen to stop making such comments in a warning that “comes from the bench.” The state’s lawyers said they would relay the message. MICHAEL COHEN TIKTOK VIDEOS, FUNDRAISING STUN LEGAL OBSERVERS: MAY HAVE ‘TORPEDOED CASE AGAINST TRUMP’A spokesperson for Trump’s campaign called the judge’s decision a “big win.” The warning does not impose any legal consequences should Cohen not heed the judges’ instructions.Trump’s legal team has appealed the gag order to the appellate division. Cohen is expected to be the star witness for Bragg and his team for his role in arranging a purported $130,000 payment in 2016 to adult actress Stormy Daniels to silence her story that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in the early 2000s. MICHAEL COHEN TO TESTIFY IN TRUMP TRIAL ON MONDAYTrump later made several payments of $35,000 to Cohen, who was his personal attorney at the time. Trump has denied the encounter with Daniels ever happened.Those payments served as the basis for Bragg’s indictment of Trump on charges of falsifying business records. Bragg is trying to prove those payments were reimbursements for the payment to Daniels.HOUSE GOP GOES AFTER ‘CONVICTED LIAR’ MICHAEL COHEN, URGES JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO INVESTIGATE RECENT LIESBut Trump defense attorneys say the $35,000 payments were “not a payback,” but instead legal payments or attorney’s fees. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Legal experts told Fox News Digital Cohen might have “torpedoed” the case before taking the stand by ranting about it on TikTok while fundraising.”It is a major problem for prosecutors. It is not a problem for Cohen’s credibility because he has none. He is a convicted perjurer and fraudster whose current ‘defense’ of his fraud convictions is that he wasn’t telling the truth when he pled guilty,” former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy said. “It’s a problem for prosecutors because they chose to build a case on a witness with a track record of bad conduct and deep bias and, not surprisingly, he can’t help himself but continue to act in character,” McCarthy said. Defense attorney Jeremy Saland, who used to work in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, told ABC News Trump’s legal team can use Cohen’s actions to “tear down his credibility.” “If I’m the prosecution, I’m on the phone right now saying, ‘Stop what you are doing — right now,'” Saland told ABC News. Fox News Digital’s Brian Flood and David Ruitz contributed to this report.
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