Manhattan prosecutors oppose Trump request to lift gag order, urge court to ‘protect the integrity’ of case

Manhattan prosecutors are opposing former President Trump’s request to have the gag order imposed against him lifted now that his criminal trial is complete, saying the court “has an obligation to protect the integrity” of the proceedings.The former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee was found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree last week. The six-week-long trial stemmed from charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. TRUMP ATTORNEYS REQUEST MERCHAN LIFT GAG ORDER AHEAD OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE, FOLLOWING END OF TRIALJudge Juan Merchan imposed a gag order on Trump before the trial began, barring Trump from making or directing others to make public statements about witnesses with regard to their potential participation or about counsel in the case — other than Bragg — or about court staff, DA staff or family members of staff.Trump’s team repeatedly appealed the order and have been denied. Trump defense attorney Todd Blanche wrote a letter to Merchan on Tuesday afternoon requesting, yet again, that the order be lifted, citing the 2024 presidential election and the first debate against President Biden on June 27, as well as the First Amendment rights of the former president and his supporters. However, Manhattan prosecutor Matthew Colangelo, on behalf of Bragg, sent a letter to Merchan arguing against Trump’s requests. TRUMP SAYS GUILTY VERDICT IS A ‘SCAR’ ON NEW YORK JUSTICE SYSTEM, VOWS TO ‘KEEP FIGHTING'”The People oppose any immediate termination of the Orders and agree with defendant’s proposal for further briefing. We request that the Court adopt the same briefing schedule that the Court set for all other posttrial motions, with defendant’s motion due on June 13 and the People’s response due by June 27,” he wrote. Colangelo said Trump’s request “asserts that the stated bases for the Court’s Orders no longer exist ‘because the trial has concluded.’” “The Court’s Orders, however, were based not only on the need to avoid threats to the fairness of the trial itself, see March 26 Order at 3, but also on the Court’s broader ‘obligation to prevent actual harm to the integrity of the proceedings’; to protect ‘the orderly administration of this Court’; and to avoid ‘risk[s] to the administration of justice.’” TRUMP GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS IN NEW YORK CRIMINAL TRIALColangelo said that their interests “have not abated, and the Court has an obligation to protect the integrity of these proceedings and the fair administration of justice at least through the sentencing hearing and the resolution of any post-trial motions.”The People’s opposition will address whether, if at all, it would be appropriate to tailor aspects of the Court’s Orders given the conclusion of the trial,” he wrote. Trump was fined $10,000 for violating the gag order during the trial. Merchan also threatened Trump with jail time for further alleged violations.”The last thing I want to consider is jail,” Merchan said. “You are [the] former president and possibly the next president.” “The magnitude of that decision is not lost on me,” Merchan said. “Your continued willful violation of the court’s order…constitutes a direct attack…and will not be allowed to continue…It is not allowed to continue.” Trump and his defense attorneys have maintained that the former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee should not be bound by the gag order, saying it violates his First Amendment rights as well as the First Amendment rights of his supporters. Trump’s sentencing date is set for July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where he is expected to be formally nominated as the 2024 Republican presidential nominee. Fox News’ Maria Paronich contributed to this report. 
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